The A&E Wait – November Writing Challenge 23

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Don’t we love a hospital wait? Well, here we are, this prompt involves a hospital waiting room. I based this prompt on how long the usual waiting times are in UK A&Es, and also this one episode of Rick and Morty (don’t judge).

I couldn’t believe it when my flatmate, Dan, told me that he’d injured himself on a drain while on one of his evening runs. I knew that I would have had to pick him up from the hospital, and so I was there, waiting alongside Dan, who’d taken off his left shoe to reveal what I could have described as an elephant foot. It had ballooned in size from the accident.

‘Mate, you’ll be going for an x-ray, I’ll bet,’ I told him. He laughed and shook his head.

‘How much?’ he responded. I knew I shouldn’t have said the ‘B-word’ because he loves betting on things.

‘Okay fine, a tenner and a Dominos later,’ I gave in. I knew we were in for a long wait and neither of us would be up for cooking.

‘Deal,’ he spoke happily, under some crazy assumption that he’d not need an x-ray.

‘How did you even injure yourself on a drain?’ I asked, still perplexed as to how he’d injured himself.

‘Funny you should ask,’ he replied, rubbing the back of his head in the anime-style trope, ‘Well it got dark, as it does this time of year, and I just…tripped and fell. Thought it was just a large snake at first, but it was just a drain.’ I sighed, before digging into my handbag for my purse.

‘You realise there are no wild snakes in Scunthorpe?’ I asked, and he laughed.

‘I don’t like snakes, okay?’

‘Not even corn snakes?’

‘NO!’ He shouted loud enough to startle the other hospital staff and patients. I sighed again and got up to get a drink. The coffee machine was out, and I was weighing my options when I heard:

‘DAN MAIDEN?’ I walked back over to Dan to help him up and get him on his crutches. I saw him off, and I walked back to the vending machine, knowing I fancied a bottle of coke. I sat back down to watch some of the TV playing, which featured a man preparing food which I could only describe as some cooking wizardry, although he did need to lay off the olive oil.

It wasn’t five minutes until Dan came over, with a form in his hand. I went up to him, and he mumbled,

‘I guess I owe you that tenner and pizza. Now I just need to get to the x-ray department.’ I walked with him, trying to slow down so that he could keep up easily, and I had to open the doors for him.

‘It’s funny, it’s usually the men opening doors for women, not the other way around,’ he made light of his situation, and I gave his form to the nurse while he took a seat. I followed suit, and this TV was playing some gardening show this time.

‘Can I ask you something?’ Dan asked suddenly.

‘Umm yeah?’ He was contemplating.

‘Why did you come to see me? I mean…it’s hard to say. You have a lot on your plate as it is without me.’

‘Dan, I came over because you’re a friend. I saw the Facebook post, I knew you wouldn’t be able to get back without a taxi, so I’m waiting with you and then when you’re done we’re going home and ordering Dominos,’ I responded. He nodded, turning his attention to the man on the TV using a hoe on the ground.

‘DAN MAIDEN?’ A nurse called out, signalling that he had to go for his x-ray. I sat back for a while, contemplating what pizza to order while watching the gardening show. It took only a few minutes before he came back, and we walked back into the A&E department to find out the results.

I was tired, and time was stretching on. I watched as many people came and went – some drunk, some bleeding out, others in pain, and others didn’t look injured, but goodness knows what goes on inside.

Dan came and went, and I started playing on my phone, with a lack of anything else to do. The gardening show had been replaced by Coronation Street, which I could never wrap my head around at the best of times.

Dan arrived at my side with his crutches, but with a boot on his foot.

‘It’s just a sprain, but they’re looking closer at the x-ray in case it’s a fracture. They’ll let me know tomorrow,’ he revealed, and I made a move to let him lead the way to my car.

‘I suppose I’m not ready for this jelly, you’re too bootylicious!’ I couldn’t resist making the pun as we left through the hospital doors.


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