The Old Hospital

The old hospital sat on top of the hill and sighed. It was thinking about its long life there, being a hospital, and whether or not it was about time for it to stop.

It sifted through its floors, feeling each of its beds and gurneys that held occupants closer to death than life. The hospital itself was closer to death than life. Its lights had started to flicker, trolley wheels were sticking, and its ceilings were starting to show more than a few cracks. It heaved a great rumbling sigh, and upset the aortic aneurysm repair that was going on on its second floor. The surgeon accidentally nicked the liver.

It opened its doors, stretching and yawning, and checked to make sure its elevators weren’t stuck. The air conditioning was still working in the intensive care unit, at least, and the labs still had enough reagents. But something just wasn’t right.

On the fifth floor a relative was complaining loudly that the doctors just didn’t care. Ah, that must be it. Its doctors and nurses for some reason lacked motivation. Maybe the old hospital just didn’t have It any more.

But it still had blood products and dialysis fluid and medical oxygen. So what if its curtains were dirty and the patients didn’t have enough bedsheets?

It gave another rumbling sigh, and the intern taking blood on the first floor stuck herself with the needle. The old hospital didn’t even blink; it knew the ARVs were in stock. Just like the sterile gauze and KY Jelly. Everything was in order on all of the shelves and cabinets, But maybe, just maybe, it was better to quit while it was ahead.

It started with the lights in the morgue, then the freezers, then the air conditioning, systematically switching off its electricity. It blinked and the oxygen tanks stopped delivering the gas; the suction machines turned off. Electrocautery machines stopped cauterizing and ventilators stopped ventilating. People started leaving, in whatever way they were capable of. And with a final lingering sigh, the old hospital shut its eyes, its windows and its doors and was no more.

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