Despite the title, this is not a blog post about English grammar and the infinitive division. Instead, I thought I would tell you about my trip to our local hospital on Monday.
I’m not sure what I expected, although I was pretty sure that a hospital was the last place I wanted to go in the middle of a pandemic. Approaching on foot from a practically empty parking lot seemed normal, except for the number of parking spaces available.
The main entrance was incredibly quiet, so much so that at first I thought I had to enter through another door. However, I went in as usual and although I expected, as in the practice of the G.P. it was not the case that the smell of disinfection was currently affecting them. A smiling lady (no mask or protective clothing) smiled at me behind the reception and pointed me towards the department.
I passed an incredibly quiet and darkened entrance to outpatients, avoided the elevator, and went through the snap door to the snap button door and up the stairs to the top floor. No wagons, no porters, no noise; Only the silence reverberated through the crackling of my summer sandals on the hard floor.
When I reached the department itself, two footprints on the floor marked the place where I had to stand to confirm my data to an unmasked department secretary who emerged from an adjacent office. A large bottle of hand sanitizer was on the counter in front of me, and I used it gratefully before I sat in the empty waiting room where glued crosses marked chairs that should not be occupied to force social distance. The staff walked away from me, exposed, and I was called to the consulting room at the exact time of my appointment.
I was led through different rooms, met several employees and came across other door handles. Her only certainty that I was not infected was to simply ask if I had a cough, fever, or other symptoms. I could understand this from the perspective of the sonographer and consultant, both of whom wore full protective gear including a visor. However, the nurse who checked my height and weight wore only disposable gloves and a face mask. She also announced that they had not yet been tested in this department. What made me naively think that all healthcare workers would be tested repeatedly? Did I feel guilty or was I at risk of not wearing my own mask? I couldn’t make up my mind. Prod, prod and test, does it feel like being kidnapped by aliens? It was all a bit much for blood pressure and heart rate, which I confess they reached a mighty 160/90!
Finally, I was free to retrace my steps along these quiet, dark corridors where hand sanitizers were used when I left the building to be greeted again by the bright sunshine outside. Did I really just have an entire hospital and its staff for me?
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