(james benedict brown) on the road

A sandwich and a shot of morphine please…

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 4 June, 2006

Sometimes I forget to lower the blind in my bedroom before going to sleep. Last night was just such an instance, so I was woken far too early by the ever longer and brighter summer sunshine. I ignored the friendly advances of Toast and Caca who noticed that I had woken, and buried my head under the sheets for another hour or two. The bizarre dream that followed managed to include an awkward moment with a documentary film crew, the house of family friends I’ve not seen in years, my darling BMM and a character from Green Wing. It might have been better to get up when I first woke…

After the disturbing apparitions had cleared, I stretched, said good morning to the cats, and went to the kitchen. I put the kettle on, poured a bowl of home made granola cereal mix and sliced some bread (also home made, incidentally… aren’t I good?). The door to the balcony was open, and it was a bright, fresh morning.

The kettle began to bubble, and I fetched some margarine from the fridge and honey from the cupboard. I turned off the stove, and wrapped the sleeve of my fleece top in on itself several times to lift the old kettle.

What follows can perhaps be best expressed by an account of the sounds that followed.

“Holy f****************” (extended expletive deleted)



“Huuuuuuuuurrrgghhhhh” (sound of pain and shock)

Shoooooosh (cold water)

“Errrrrrr” (Ulli, rudely awoken)

Pep-pep-pep-pep (James dialling 9-1-1)

– a few moments later –

wow-wow-woW-WoW-WOW-PAAAAARRRRRP (Urgances Santé ambulance siren)

– a moment later –

“Beh-saluuuuhh…” (Urgances Santé paramedic entering the apartment)

– a few moments later –

Vrrrrroooooooooooom (Urgences Santé ambulance on Christoph-Colomb, now with passenger)

– a few moments later –

tick-tock-tick-tock (clock in waiting room of Notre Dame Hospital Emergency department)

A few hours later, at 12.15, I took several tentative steps out of the Emergency department, and breathed in some fresh air. After an hour or so of triage, registration and waiting, I was eventually seen by a friendly doctor. My early morning attempt to make myself a cup of tea has left me with second degree burns down the lower inside of my left leg, and shortly after arriving I was injected with morphine to calm me down. And my my my, calm me down it did. Nothing was a problem after that point. The shakes have now passed, and after one failed attempt by a nurse who was later taken aside and remonstrated, my leg is now doused with cream and dressed. The next week will be punctuated by visits to my local CLSC (primary care health centre) to have the dressing changed and to hear nurses looking at my wounds and saying “oooooph, c’est pas pire ça”

A taxi took me home ($15 – my insurers had better help me out on that one) through the slow moving Sunday traffic. Today’s Tour de l’Isle bicycle tour has brought thousands of Montréalers out to explore the city on two wheels. I’d forgotten this until I saw the disproportionate number of lycra clad cyclists in the waiting room of the emergency room, all apparently nursing minor injuries caused by parting company with their bicycles at speed. Stuck in a traffic jam, I told the cabbie to pull up a few blocks short, and I tentatively walked the last few hundred metres to my door.

Ulli was home. She had, in the intervening period, brought me a packed lunch of sandwiches in the hospital which had thankfully staved off hunger and stopped the morphine going to work on an empty stomach.

I put the kettle on to finally make my morning cup of tea.

“Be careful with that.” said Ulli, with a smirk.

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