a hospital hallway - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
This hospital is nothing like the one I am used to back home, where the receptionist is more plastic than the purified water dispenser. Here there is no openness, no space, nothing shines or has the smell of disinfectant. Instead the way in is down a long hallway so narrow that if a wheelchair or trolley were to come to other way I'd have to dip into a side room to let it go by. The walls were once painted, I can tell that from the cream flakes that remain, though mostly they show the grey undercoat or perhaps the concrete beneath that. The floor is uneven from so much traffic with both feet and wheels and it's darker than a mausoleum. The air is stagnant like we just went into some pit. There are no hand sanitizers on the walls, how they prevent the spread of germs here I don't know, perhaps they don't. From ahead come muffled voices, some angry, some placating. I bite down on my lip, this isn't going to be fun.
The hallway has as much personality as the rest of the hospital. The floor is slate grey and the walls dove. Above the ceiling is made from those polystyrene squares laid on a grid-like frame. The light is too bright for my eyes after the darkening gloom outside, I find it abrasive, enough perhaps to bring on one of my migraines. There are commercial prints on the wall, tasteful in the dull kind of way. This place certainly isn't run by risk-takers and I guess I should find comfort in that. Above every door I pass is a large plastic sign, dark with white lettering- no fancy fonts, just bold and all-caps. It's so new and spotless I feel like the whole building must have just gotten beamed here from some-place dirt is outlawed. My eyes fall to the garish flowers in my hand, their dampness seeping through my woollen glove. Suddenly I don't mind their cost anymore, it's worth it, Mom's going to need some colour in here.
Nowhere is the chronic underfunding more evident than in the hallways. They are for the most part crammed with patients on trolleys, some tended by strained relatives and some alone. Each of them lies on their back, strapped in- eyes toward the naked fluorescent tubes that flicker as though they are on their last legs. In the brief gaps between these unfortunates who cannot afford the exorbitant private fees, the pale blue walls are deeply scored by the metal framed trollies, the drywall showing though like white scars. The cheap prints on the walls are insipid, so lacking in vibrancy that they appear sun-bleached in this windowless strip. The confined space magnifies the groans and wails to no avail, the nurses have seen it all before and are immune, hardened by repeat exposure and over-work.
I reach the navy double-doors with their plastic band fastened midway and their dull chrome handles. I pull my eyes from the highly polished linoleum floor to catch a glimpse of the hallway that stretches beyond, cut into tiny squares by the thin wire in the window panels. Without pause I push with my body weight, but I needn't have, it swings open soundlessly and with ease. A draft of air hits my face, warm and with a tincture of bleach. Ahead of me lie magnolia walls, decorated with old black and white photographs of hospital staff- most likely either deceased or rocking their nineties in some retirement home. I could fit at least two of me with arms outstretched across its width. Instead of straight walls the hallway has a curve, disappearing from sight in a hundred meters or so. Every few seconds I pass a different set of doors with a hand-sanitizer dispenser: to oncology, to geriatrics, to maternity. I bypass them all heading for psychiatry, because that's where my brother is.
The hospital hallway has as much personality as the interstate. It is a thoroughfare for personnel with patients as parcels. The dull beige tile leads onwards passed identical doorways edged in grey. The walls simply grow from the floor and stretch upward to the matching ceiling. It is a place of sickness, a place to be forgotten slowly after the initial shock of admittance. After that it's a slow slide to the morgue, sallow eyes tilted toward a sun that remains stubbornly on the wrong side of the dirty window pane.
The hospital was built long ago, like the city that surrounds it. Outside the streets were built for horses and carts, they are narrow and twisting. Inside the hospital the hallways are the same, never wide enough for the modern equipment that must pass in opposite directions. But even odder still is that they may go up and down hill, the rooms being built at sightly different levels to one another. Whoever the architect was I doubt there was much of a plan ever drawn, the entire building has an organic and eclectic feel, even when the era it was built in is taken into consideration.
Last year Kisha had been on the children's ward, everything brightly coloured and the nurses smiling. One birthday and everything changed, she didn't need to see the room or even be there more than a minute to know it, the hallway was enough. Everything was a muted colour, but not pretty pastels, simply washed out tones of grey. From the tired floor to the dented walls it was depression served cold. She turned to see her mother's face, catching her off guard, tension, shock... she was just as taken aback.
The hospital hallway was like something out of Star Trek. Everything that could shine, did shine. There was stainless steel, sleek floors and the art on the walls were all natural images in colours as bright as glacier melt-water or spring flowers. The air had a pure fragrance, not sterile, just clean. In the background played music at just the right level to give the patients and staff an emotional lift. But the best part was the ceiling, just clear and high arched. It was like standing out in the open without the risk of rain.