Michael Holden's Deleted Scenes - Eamonn Holmes Stamping on a Human Face Forever
While the human body malfunction that draws you there might result in any number of outcomes, the one thing you can say with certainty about visiting a British hospital, is that it will take time. As long as my life isn’t actually hanging in the balance I have no problem with that. Better to take one’s place in a queue that takes all comers than buy your way to the front. If anything, the slow pace and glimpses of people much worse off than yourself can be quite soothing – much like going to Eastern Europe used to be. Until, that is, someone stuck a TV in A&E, tuned it to Sky News and walked off with the remote. Unless the plan is to drive people to suicide before they reach treatment and incur costs – in which case top marks, guys. Job done.
So, picture the scene: A&E, 7.30AM. Eamonn Holmes and James Whale are on Sky Breakfast talking about how much they hate the Human Rights Act. A big crowd of ill people are listening to it and then there's me, eventually snapping.
Me: [going up to reception] “Hi – does this have to be on?”
Me: “The TV – does it have to be on so loud?”
Receptionist: [shrugging, with Orwellian finality] “We don’t have the remote.”
I turn around hoping that someone might back me up in a vote to just switch it off, but there's a mad looking dude who looks as though hearing less of Eamonn Holmes’ take on the day’s events might nudge him into violence. So I go to the back row, where there's just a coughing woman and the TV is marginally quieter.
Woman: [coughing] “It’s a nervous cough (COUGH) It’s alright (COUGH) You won’t catch anything from me (COUGH).”
Me: “That’s OK.”
Woman: “I hate these places. You never know what they’re going to say.”
Me: [based on no insight at all] “You’ll be alright.”
Woman: [pointing at a door] “You know what they (COUGH) get up to in there?”
Woman: [with some dread] “They sterilise equipment – after the operations.”
Me: “That’s good, though, isn't it?”
Woman: [getting up, moving closer to the TV] “I can’t stand it, I’ve got to get away.”
Which leaves me with just the echo of James and Eammon and the imagined rattle of a thousand boiling clamps.
Illustration by Johnny Ryan