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Byron Shire
May 16, 2022

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Putting the Byron into Byron Hospital

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ByronHospital-ByronStyleWelcome to paradox. Where we offer Mindfulness or something Mindaltering. Where we invite you to stay but don’t have anywhere for you to park. Where we wake up for 5am Yoga, eat organic whole food, and then sneak off for Botox.

Our latest irony is still under construction. Not long from now our brand new Byron hospital will be opening, right across the road from The Farm. Our sick and infirm will have the joy of eating tasteless nutrition-deprived hospital slop while taking in the uninterrupted views of rolling paddocks bursting with farm-fresh organic vegies. There’s nothing like teasing the sick with a good view of nutrition.

This is a Byron hospital. Shouldn’t we make it more ‘Byron’? Does it have to be so straight? Shouldn’t we be branding our health with the same brand we put on our beer? It’s so obvious! Maybe The Farm could take on the catering contract. Instead of middle-aged matrons pushing trolleys up the corridors, lunch could be dropped off by a young bearded hipster in Blundstones and skinny jeans. Forget egg and lettuce sandwiches wrapped in plastic, we have quinoa salad served on a breadboard. And yes, maybe serving food on wood isn’t sterile, but hey, a bit of bacteria does help build the immune system!

And think of all the complementary therapies we could introduce. Visiting naturopaths could pop by with their trainees and offer pain relief via a tincture. Got pneumonia? Well, you could try antibiotics, or maybe a potato poultice! Early morning meditation would be a must, although you’d have to turn off all the beeping life-supporting machinery so that you can properly connect with your higher power.

We could also introduce a mid-morning Gratitude session expressing thanks for getting a bed and living through the night. Those ugly scratchy hospital gowns could be redesigned by Colin Heaney. Imagine how much more attractive a glimpse of a hairy arse would between the soft folds of a swirling psychedelic print silk open-at-the-back kaftan.

The whole decor is going to have to change as well. Hospitals are depressing. Maybe introduce futons made up with organic linen hand-coloured by Steiner children with rainbow dye? I am thinking the whole place needs a Marrakesh feel – woollen rugs that still smell faintly of llama, and maybe the verandahs could be decked out with prayer flags so that we visitors know that the hospital is a temple and that if we want to enter we should remove our shoes. The hospital will definitely have to be shoe free. How can you possibly connect with mother earth in your healing phase with covered feet?

And we’ll need an emergency gong to bring us back to the present. Beeping is just so bad for the aura. The back of all the toilet doors would have a moon calendar so that people understood that their accident was not due to a faulty chainsaw but in fact caused by an impending lunar eclipse.

As for the nursing staff, sure they work hard, but I think it’s time they introduced a few more flourishes. Maybe bellydancing? It would certainly help pass the endless hours in ED waiting to be seen by a doctor. In fact we have too many buskers. Why not use them in a Byron Cabaret in Accident and Emergency. It might help clear the congestion with people who aren’t critical deciding instead to go home and wait to see their family doctor.

As for the doctors, they need to be doing a whole lot more patient-hugging. And be in the nude. So we can see they have nothing to hide. Hospital is also a great place for hair braiders and tarot readers. It would be a real advantage going into hospital if you knew you were going to be coming out. Or not.

Might change some of your treatment choices.

And finally, I think it’s time we found somewhere to unleash the thousands of massage practitioners we train up every week. Every patient could have their own rotational shift of masseurs, delivering everything from Swedish to full blown Reiki, to hand relief, or, Yoni massage. Louise Hay could be employed as the triage nurse so she could give everyone the reason they’re sick is because they are somehow deficient.

And instead of the ambo, why not use a few backpackers pulling a rickshaw? I mean, the opportunities are endless. With a bit of vision we folk in the Byron shire could be falling down our own wellness. Now that would be totally SICK!


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