Dear Editor, My name is Michelle Roberts, I am a 51-year-old lady who lives in the little seaside town of Bowen, in far north Queensland. In December of last year, I sadly had to go into the local hospital as I was dehydrated, it’s hard getting used to the climate, I had only moved from Melbourne in September and not prepared for the extreme heat. Whilst I was there I put pen to paper and wrote a story that I would like to share, it’s called The Matron, please enjoy….. It’s four am and it sounds like a steam train is coming past me, but no it’s the man in the bed next to me in this little coastal hospital. In many ways, it reminds me of the old eighties series “A Country Practice”.

Not much has changed here thirty years later, with the stout abrupt Matron, with her hair pulled back tightly into a bun at the base of her head. A very scary lady indeed. On my first morning, this very stout lady showers me, well she holds the shower rose ready to rinse me off after giving me a chux cloth to wash myself with, the water hits me with a sting as my body gets used to the heat and pressure of the water, but I daren’t say a word. Oh no, this is serious business, just like hosing down a car.

The water goes cold, yes it actually goes cold. The Matron gives me one towel to dry myself with, whilst she dries my legs with another, I try to make a joke, but oh no, no jokes to be had here this is serious business. Once I’m dried and put my bed clothes on all with the assistance of The Matron, I have a tube connected to my arm feeding me, and this makes it difficult to get dressed, but Matron in her no-nonsense ways deals with this very efficiently, of course.

Once dressed, teeth cleaned and hair brushed in a loose bun at the top of my head, which is fashionable these days, unlike The Matron’s tight bun at the base of her head. Righto time to get back into bed, after The Matron does a stellar job of putting nice starched white sheets on my bed, hospital corners to perfection plumps up the pillows all nice and ready for me to get back into. This is a trial as I still have the tube feeding me one drip at a time, I don’t think it’s working too well as I’m ravenous, and would kill for a coke, but oh no, no soft drinks here , nil by mouth young lady, and who am I to argue with The Matron? No no no no no no, I’m not brave enough to even speak.

I’m back in bed now and The Matron asked if I was comfortable, and I nod in agreeance as I lay on the rock hard mattress with the crisp cold white sheets and a hospital blanket, why do they use those blankets with holes in them they do not keep you warm, I’m sure thirty years ago when I had my first son they were using the same blankets back then. But I snuggle down and look at my mobile phone which looks so totally out of place here in this hospital room of a little seaside practice.

Oh dear the lights have gone out, and I am in complete darkness, I’m not liking this at all, why have the lights gone out? To save on electricity or Matron’s orders for the night staff! Back to the mobile phone, I touch it and it lights up my area of my four person room, oh good I can write again, the man in the bed in the other corner starts snoring whilst the man next to me is still chugging away, is this some competition or what? I suppose if I had of accepted that sleeping tablet last night when it was offered I too would be snoring away too. I love this little hospital with all the props and staff to take me back thirty years when I watched my favourite program on the telly.

This makes me good, warm and fuzzy inside. Matron and all of the other characters, thank you for making me better and giving me this wonderful experience back to when life seemed so much simpler. I put my mobile phone away in the drawer snuggle down and think all is as it should be, sleep time.

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