Sunday, 8 November 2015

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown-NSW

I worked at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for most of the 1980s and some time in 1990s too. I made a lot of friends among my co-workers. 

I worked as a Technical Aide at the Anatomical Pathology Departament on the on the 7th floor of the Fairfax Building - which was actually only the 3rd floor counting from the ground floor. I started working at the Histology Section in October 1981. 

There were a few ladies who worked as clerks for the Department. A completely new building was under construction around this time but before they could vacate the adjacent Gastroenterology Ward to where the clerks would move - those unlucky ladies had to do all their typing and filing on very cramped space. 

Margaret Marshall, a very competent typist from Britain would see the whole hullaballo and write rhymes about it. Have a look at some of them: 

THE SQUEEZE BOX

In Pathology Anatomical
each day borders on the comical, 
working in the smallest space 
we're always coming face to face.

If you want to move around 
obstacles by the score abound,
just to get from A to B
is a feat you have to see.

To qualify for working here
one must be a mountaineer,
for climbing over, round and under
you must be an athletic wonder.

We are all packed so tightly in
one breathes out and one breathes in,
and if you should miss your turn
I dare not say what fate you'll earn.

On each others' toe we tread
the crowd is counted by the head,
and each minute through the door
come another hundred more.

Soon we're packed so tightly in
to work, you just cannot begin,
now I know just what it means
to be packed in like sardines.

Don't bend down to tie a lace
or on your back they'll set a place,
or use you as a filing basket
the situation is so drastic.

Heather sat beside the sink
and one day teetered on the brink,
whilst trying to overcome a hurdle
she disappeared without a gurgle.

So when the tap you do turn
remember our friend has come,
and keep a grip upon the side 
or you may be swallowed by the tide.

As you settle down to work
if you should get a sudden jerk,
it might just Silvana be
climbing o'er to get her tea.

Sitting by the photocopier
Sandra, she could not be happier,
but alas, is often seen
being dragged through the machine.

This tends to make us all irate
'cause she is here in duplicate,
and on the long awaited day
she collects two lots of pay.

Margaret sits besides the cupboard
feeling just like Mother Hubbard,
and really isn't trying to hide
she just keeps getting shut inside.

Helen is our Opera Star
and we think she will go far,
but meantime to work she's pledged
and is into a corner wedged.

She trills away the whole day through
and soon will make her big debut,
so when for test results you're ringing
she will give them to you... singing.

As the time for work approaches
we're infested by cockroaches,
then to wake us from our dreams
the place is filled with loudest screams.

All day long they crawl around
in many places they can be found,
causing such an awful fright
when on us the do alight.

Parties are held here by the score
and even bigger crowds do draw,
a feast so good to please the eyes 
but makes us all increase in size.

So future staff will have to be 
very thin and rather wee,
to fit within a tiny space
and get a job in this small place.

Margaret Marshall  - 14th November 1983.


EXTENSION SIXTY-SIX

Each day at lunch time we all know
that Heather has to ring her beau,
she can't wait to speak to Ron
and tell him all that's going on.

At 12:30 on the dot 
she gets settled in her spot,
then the receiver up she picks 
give me extention sixty-six.

Hello, baby, is that you?
I'm so glad I could get through,
there is such a lot to say 
so I'll begin right away.

The Registrars all passed their test
I guess that they all did their best,
Dr. Goldschmidt got back from Hol's
I thinki he spent it chasing dolls.

Margaret's run off with the Baker
they say he didn't really make her,
she always did say she would go 
for one who had a lot of dough.

Silvana, I have heard them say
might soon be in the family way,
she would like one more for her brood
and is waiting till she's in the mood.

I've heard when Sandra does her shopping
beside the ckeckout she is stopping, 
for a boyfriend to acquire 
someone to set her soul on fire. 

Coming on the bus to work 
Kristine is bothered by some jerk,
I guess she's on a sticky wicket
she really ought to punch his ticket.

Well, I tell you, darling Ronnie
we have a new girl, Connie,
she has lived in Yankeeland
and thought that it was simply grand.

Helen's casting threatening glances
I guess I'd better take no chances,
I must leave you, to my sorrow
but will ring again tomorrow.

Margaret Marshall - 22 October 1984.

clerck & poetry writer Margaret Marshall & Myself at 1984 Xmas party at RPAH.

There was a photocopying machine in the Department that doctors and other staff would use it regularly, disrupting the clerks's routine. Look what Margaret wrote about it:

FAIR GO 

When this machine you come to use
the privilege do not abuse,
please note before you do begin
the size of paper that is in.

If our quarto you should change
and all the systems re-arrange,
just before you go away
please put back the other tray.

If several copies are for you
the thing that we'd like you to do, 
is put the number back to one
'cause that should be what it is on.

Many copies go to waste
when someone in their busy haste,
does not change the counter back
instead of one we get a stack.

If the paper tray is low
please, oh please before you go,
add a bit more to the pile
so that it will last a while.

It causes so much consternation
when you stand here in conversation,
while others do await their turn
and for your departure yearn.

We may not stand beside and wait
so whilst becoming more irate
to another task we go
hoping you won't be too slow.

So please, do not hold up our work
and make us think that you're a jerk, 
we hope that you'll co-operate
which will make us think you're great.

signed: Frustrated of Camperdown
24th April 1984.


Helen Hoffman showing off her rocking koala...

I used to collect any 'funny writing' I came across... these are some examples:


All doctors know a little about everything
but as time goes on, 
they know less and less
about more and more,
so they end up knowing
nothing about everything.

Medical Technologists,
know a great deal about nothing
but as time goes on, 
they know more and more
about less and less,
so they end up knowing everything about nothing.

Technical Officers, however,
know everything about everything,
but because of their association 
with Medical Technologists and Doctors,
they end up knowing
nothing about nothing.  


The psychiatrist knows all 
and does nothing.

The surgeon knows nothing
and does all.

The dermatologist knows nothing
and does nothing.

The pathologist knows everything,
but a day too late.

Sandra Winstanley expressing herself animatedly...
Sandra, Koala & Myself at a RPAH Christmas party. 


Anatomical Pathology had ony two toilett cubicles for the whole department. This created many an embarrassing situation. Margaret could not be silenced and wrote this funny protest. 

THE BALLAD OF THE BOG

Please do take heed of this rhyme
and in this room don't spend much time,
for there are many others who
want to do the same as you.

While we wait in desperation
and in growing consternation,
some do take the time to read
oblivious of another's need.

When you come into this LOO
just do the thing you have to do,
pull the chain and rush away
then live to come another day.

Many times I am enraged
to find both doors are marked 'Engaged',
and often from behind a door 
I'll swear that I can hear a snore.

Whilst in here you sit and languish
others wait outside in anguish.
Why can't you do the same as we
and only come to have a pee

Keep it brief and to the point
remember others in this joint,
be aware the time you spend
is driving someone round the bend.

When you sit here in peace and quiet
just outside there is a riot,
many desperados wait
each minute getting more irate.

The moral of this tale of woe
is if you really have to go,
make it quick and beat retreat
so someone else may have your seat.

Margaret Marshall - 25 October 1983


Jack is nimble
Jack is quick
but still prefers
the candle stick. 

Constipation is the thief of time!


Diarrhea waits for no man!