The staff are busy bustling about their jobs. With no stimuli, the workers become the watched. Visitors waiting listen to snippets of conversations; a half diagnosis, an enquiry about the family, last night’s entertainment.
Coloured uniforms denote levels of qualification and roles within the ward. A judgemental rainbow of knowledge and skills attainment. Soft soled shoes and piercing repeating beeps form the backdrop of the scene.
Visitors unfocus their eyes to reduce the embarrassment of being caught staring. The smell of hand sanitizer tingles the nostrils with its sharp smell; prevalent and underlying, a sense reminder of the situation.
Cardboard sick bowls form a Jenga stack. Curved recycled receptacles with measurements on the inside – calculating the outpouring of human fluids. Blue flimsy curtains, barley a screen of privacy and certainly not of sound, hang limply from plastic ties that refuse to glide.
Skintact sheets and waffle weave blankets.
Diamond patterns on wash-worn gowns, origami straps.
Pale skin – starkly white against the pastel shades of calming green.
Dark shadows below exhausted eyes.