Read Part One here
Read Part Two here
Perhaps it was foolish to expect Ewan would be willing to let me go off on my own. I suspect it’s a doctor thing. Something to do with the oath they make when becoming a doctor? Always helping others or some shit? Regardless, I found that I couldn’t fight Ewan’s resolve. By the time we left the lobby for the dull Cardiff sunshine, I was feeling so peaky I wouldn’t have cared who accompanied me to the hospital.
The valet attendant flagged down a cab, and as it pulled up, I found myself bending over and vomiting into the curb. This is never a good sign for cabbies. It wasn’t even Friday night.
‘She’s not getting in my cab like that,’ the driver yelled through his open window.
‘She needs the hospital,’ Ewan told him calmly as I vomited once more.
‘She can call a bloody ambulance!’
‘Can’t,’ I managed in between heaves. ‘Don’t have insurance.’
The valet attendant came to the rescue, producing a plastic shopping bag for the journey. Points for the hotel.
We were required to drive with the windows open given the vomiting did not cease once we were mobile. Ewan directed the cabbie to Saint something, a nearby hospital. I realised too late that I didn’t have my bag with me, and we were about to enter the NHS abyss with no formal identification.
‘Don’t worry about that,’ Ewan said, his arm around me.
‘They won’t see me.’
‘I’ll look after you once we’re there. We’ll deal with the formalities later.’
‘Wait, you work at this hospital?’ I asked.
‘No, my practice is in London. But I’ve been working on a trial here for the last couple of weeks.’
‘Like a clinical trial?’ I wondered.
‘On what?’ I was finding talking beneficial. Talking meant I didn’t have to think of the throbbing pain in my head and the now utterly-soaked handkerchief I was finding more difficult by the minute to keep pressed to my eye.
‘Post Traumatic Stress.’
‘But that’s a psychiatry problem.’
‘Well, I’m a psychiatrist,’ Ewan replied.
‘Hang on. You said you’d look after me when we got there. What do you know about stitches and head trauma? You’re not that kind of doctor!’ Panic began rising. I didn’t want some amateur stitching up my skin. The resultant scars would have me looking like Gordon Ramsay!
‘I assure you, Molly, my medical training is quite up-to-date.’
‘So you say,’ I muttered.
We arrived at the hospital, Ewan paying the cabbie given I had no wallet.
As we walked through the hospital entrance, me still clutching my vomit-filled shopping bag, women seem to appear out of nowhere to say good morning to ‘Dr Baker’.
Was like an episode of Mad Men, with Don Draper striding down the halls. Though Ewan looks nothing like Don Draper, he seems to have the same gravity-affect on women. Women who seem to be dressed in 1960’s getup. Short, tight dresses. Bosom-displaying shirts. What kind of a hospital have we walked into?
I was found a wheelchair and my shopping bag of vomit was replaced with a hospital-issue vomit bag. I was wheeled down corridors, taking little in or perhaps my memory was fading me. Everything seemed to be at a distance – voices sounded like they were coming from the end of a long tunnel, objects around me were a blur. The only thing in sharp focus was the overhead fluorescent lights which felt as if they were burning my retinas, giving my head a new, dizzying pain.
Every now and then Ewan stopped to talk in gracious tones to a member of the staff, and I began to get the sense that favours were being done. Rooms being found, x-ray services given. We finally came to a halt in a small treatment room where Ewan helped me up onto the examination table. The sodden hanky was finally removed, and as I lay with my head on a stiff, plastic pillow, Ewan began gently washing my face.
He leant over the back of my head and began pressing my skin together with his thumb and forefinger. ‘I would say… three stitches will do the trick.’
‘You will say? That sounds like you’re not certain!’ I looked up to see the upside down face of Ewan staring down at me. There was a mischievous glint in his eyes.
‘I’m kind of certain,’ he replied with a wink. His face disappeared and I heard him opening cupboards behind me.
‘I want a proper doctor,’ I said, sitting up.
‘I am a proper doctor,’ Ewan replied. He came over and sat on the edge of the bed, patting my knee. ‘I have to keep up with my medical training in case I’m called up.’
‘Called up?’ I asked, interrupting.
Ewan nodded. ‘I’m with the Army,’ Ewan said. ‘So my medical training has to be up-to-date. Believe me, I’m quite capable of attending to a couple of sutures.’
I laid back down, mainly because my head was spinning. ‘You’re one of those types, aren’t you?’ I asked.
‘The do-anything types. The do-everything types. I bet you know how to play the piano.’
‘Well, yes, a little.’
‘And at school you were the sport champion?’ Rugby, I was thinking. That kind of physique stays with you.
‘Well, I wasn’t the champion…’
‘You know a language?’
‘A little French…’
‘And let me guess, your ideal holiday is to go climb a mountain somewhere?’
Ewan was silent. I tilted my head back to see him with a kidney bowel of equipment in his hands, leaning against the counter. ‘What’s your point?’ He asked, miffed.
‘You one of those types.’
The rich types. The one that had a cherished upbringing, with everything laid out before them. With parents that could afford to send them to music lessons, language lessons. That could afford the sports equipment. That could holiday in exotic locations. There’s probably pictures on Ewan’s mantel of him, a brother and sister possibly, together with energetic, loving parents, all smiling happily at the top of Kilimanjaro. As if what they’d just done (ie, climbing up a treacherous mountain causing blisters and callouses on their feet, chilblains on their fingers and windburn on their faces) was ‘fun.’ God I hated those types.
‘I’m just going to inject some local anaesthetic,’ Ewan said, in a sudden pseudo-professional manner.
‘Go for it,’ I replied. Clearly, I was angry.
We remained silent as Ewan stitched the fold of skin above my eye. So silent that I could hear every breath that escaped his mouth. I could even hear the threads being stitched into my skin.
I heard the light clang of something hit the kidney bowl, and then the ripping of plastic. Something was pressed onto the wound. Gauze, I presumed.
Ewan bent over my face so I could see his. He prodded my cheek with his fingers, which hurt. I was instructed to open my mouth wide, to smile, all while he felt along the bone. ‘I don’t think it’s broken,’ he finally said.
‘No, it’s because I’ve got so much padding there,’ I told him. Cheeky, they called me at school. Two round pillows on either side of my nose. Mum always said it was baby-fat, but here I am, almost thirty, with massive cheeks. A bullet wouldn’t get through those babies.
Ewan smiled at me. ‘So I don’t think we need to x-ray you, but they may want to do so once you’re admitted.’
‘Admitted? No, I’ve got a train to catch.’
‘You need observation. I’ll go back to your hotel room and grab some things for you, your identification, and the nurses will find you a bed.’
‘No, no, no.’ I rose from the bed, my head swaying. ‘I’ve got to be in London.’
‘You have to take some time off.’
I shook my head.
‘I’ll let you rearrange your schedule, but that’s all.’
I found myself sighing because I knew Ewan was right. There was no way I could handle being on a train feeling the way I was. All I wanted to do was sleep, which I knew wasn’t such a good thing when you have concussion.
Finally, I nodded. ‘I have some calls to make.’