I was on my way to the hospital to visit my uncle who had broken his arm in a road traffic accident. In the distance I could hear the morbid wailing siren of at least two ambulances who were most likely headed in the same direction. I shuddered before entering the hospital; it was one of the few cumbersome places I would rather not be. Clutching a tiny bouquet of flowers and a ‘get well soon’ card I headed towards the stern faced receptionist. She informed me that visiting hours would be over in half an hour before she told me that my uncle’s room was on the third floor.
I nodded my thanks and made my way to the lift. Just as the doors were about to close a young man held open the doors and then got in. His eyes looked puffy and the nose was tinged red. Suddenly he let out an explosive sneeze. I edged as far away from him as I could, hoping I hadn’t inhaled any of his germs. I remembered that I had received my vaccine against the common cold this year and mentally heaved a sigh of relief. Nevertheless, I had to suppress an urge to not run out of the lift as soon as it opened.
When I reached my uncle’s room I was glad that I had come. Uncle Fahad looked pale and worn out as though he hadn’t had a proper night’s sleep in days. The pain in his broken arm seemed to be bothering him a lot. He was already fed up with the hospital food and longed to be home soon. I did my best to reassure him that after his surgery he would be as good as new within a few days. He seemed to be in mildly better spirits when I left him.
Just as I was exiting the hospital building I saw a young girl vomiting violently. Her retching sounds made me feel slightly queasy as I watched her being helped inside. I walked hurriedly, eager to get away as fast as I could from the hospital. The sound of sirens faded into the background as I drove away. Looking in the rearview mirror at the tall hospital building I hoped I wouldn’t have to visit again.