Coughing, breaks through a Fleetwood Mac melody. Outside, and from the west, a freshening wind brings winter solstice’s afternoon chill. Below a ridge of metal clad roofs the afternoon darkens. Tree tops swish and sway, ebony trunks yielding sufficiently to allow the grassy canopy heads to toss in a random sway.
Mount Wellington moves in and out of shade. At first green grey, then grey, turning blue black, then black. Silhouetted by pure streaming steaks of sunlight, the rays diffuse, as the yellowing golden orb sinks into milky obscurity. Clouds yet to appear above the mountains crest, lie in wait to be blown upward by the westerly stream. As they rise in the clear air their under bellies will be streaked pink, signalling evening
Fleetwood Mac stops. 17/17 tracks played in 1:06:56. A truck passes, it’s low roar a lion in suburbia, and then it’s gone.
Anne is absorbed, in another place curled on the left of the lounge, but is she really here? Chocolate at the ready, all her attention is focussed in some other land, and certainly not here. Could it be a fantasy land, perhaps a romance, perhaps in the twenty fourth century, or the twelfth?
Her cough returns, a largish hacking cough followed by a second explanatory cough riding over the first. Her hand comes from her cheek then returns, clenched fingers of her right hand pressing her right cheek. It’s a scene of domesticity, not unlike that which de Botton refers to in The Art of Travel, musing on his walks, tracing Wordsworth’s tramps in the Lakes District.
Outside a “d’oh, booh, boah “, of human origin incessantly seeks attention. It is compelling and intriguing, but not sufficiently so for me to raise my head or fingers from the keyboard. I am indifferent. Then it stops.
The sharp shafts of sunlight fade and do not now lighten the tree trunks, nor does the wind surge throughout the tree tops, evening is coming. I reach forward to look and test if the pink underbellies of Wellington cloud’s are exposed. They aren’t.
As I look around I see the three black remote controllers. I wonder why there are always three. They sit there, with the heat pump control, waiting their turn to release sounds into the room. Batons in the orchestration of modern life, they wait to shatter the sounds of silence.
Fleetwood Mac has already departed, It’s silent now, save for a bare twitter from home coming darting swallows. The sky turns cerulean in the azure spectrum, against which upper level clouds are torn to shreds in the unseen jet stream. Somewhere out there I hear a truck straining, perhaps under load or maybe gear lowering to avoid over braking.
I reflect on the day. It’s been a fine, fine for the company kept, the first tiny steps to developing friendship with a previous next door neighbour. The conversation had turned on the usual such as the work done and future hopes. But it is the tango that catches us unawares. How could that be? That the tango is something they do and we would like to? It’s serendipity. The willingness to mention, then discuss what interests one another, then bingo! Perhaps in the near future we will cross paths learning or milongoing. It’ the new word I learnt today, not Molongolo, as in the river on which Canberra is situated, but milonga the tango dance party where all the work at the practica, can be shown off. David says he will teach me how to walk. I’m relieved cause I had in mind to run, in the opposite direction. Over muffins and bruschetta I learn the difference and realise the opportunity presented.
Anne coughs again, outside the cloud underbellies pinken, evening has fallen.



Armbands, wrist bands, hmm who cares?
They come in all shapes and sizes. Perhaps the most famous or infamous were those seen on the arms of Nazi party members. Often to signify rank, they were an essential part of the paraphernalia.

Wrist bands now carry iSomethings everywhere, with reflective safety taping, iridescent colours, they can even be bought just to show you care. Cancer supporters, breast cancer survivors and tree hugging, the band has its day or maybe two, then gets left on the dresser. Finally they lose their potency and find their way to the bin.

Not so the hospital wrist band. A primary means of identification, the attachment of one signifies a citizens rite of passage to being a patient.
“Go here.”
“You should be up in 7B.”
“No your haematology results aren’t here yet.”
“It will be a long time before you see a doctor.”
All these directions, or your status can be determined by your hospital wristband, maybe just by it’s colour. It’s the bar coding of the hospital processing system, a support to make sure you don’t have the wrong leg cut off, or proctology when you came in for brain surgery.

The band protects. It sets you apart from the lanyard wearers with dangling photo ID. The safety lanyard apparently avoids the chance of the staff member being strangled. A quick check on the net shows this to be a low low chance of happening. However, there’s an alleged case of a wheel chair patient tumbling out of their conveyance and being garrotted when entangled on her joystick.

But the band, it’s a different kettle of fish. You can’t get into a hospital without getting one, you aren’t out till it’s off. All a matter of “duty of care” I hear.

So why is it that with all the palaver to get it on, there’s so little care to take it off. Patients on discharge don’t have them ceremoniously detached, to signify their return to citizen status. Can they take it off themselves? When should they take it off? Does security look askance at them as they try to exit with it on? Could they be an escapee, a treatment short of a cure?

Perhaps completion of the discharge process should be signified with a formal cutting of the band, post treatment by hospital staff?

A shearing of the umbilicus!

In the care continuum, it’s the small things that matter!