There is too much red tape surrounding the Gold Coast because of the Commonwealth Games 1



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Recently I had to visit the Gold Coast University Hospital, an interestingly amusing place. First off, I have been saying it ever since the idea of the Gold Coast trams were mooted, they have absolutely nothing to do with tourism but all about commerce, or put more bluntly: dollars! These trams terminate in the bowels of this new hospital, it was always going to be the case and this tramline was never going to the Gold Coast Airport. The deal was struck long before construction was commenced.

Right, moving along, when one arrives at the tram stop; the art is to get inside the hub of this teaching hospital. First impressions are that there are more retired or semi-retired greeters than one could wish to see at the “Commonwealth Games”.

I heard someone describe them as “blue-coats” – a rather apt and appropriate description. To be fair, most of these people were very polite and knowledgeable. Made me actually feel human for a fleeting moment! Unfortunately it passed all too quickly! So, as per the instruction, I headed to the lift not quite knowing in what direction or to which level I was to go. So, upon asking for a second time, feeling somewhat embarrassed, I found my stride and headed off to “Area 6”. That’s right: “Area 6”. I can’t help wondering where “Area 51” might be? I shudder to think! Once again, I had to ask if I was heading in the right direction. Seems I was on track… literally! Now, I’ve never been in prison, but I was starting to get this feeling of follow the yellow line and do not deviate. A bit of an exaggerated statement but not too far from the reality of this 21st century culture that we have become ensconced into.

It appears somewhere along this long and winding corridor, I’ve deviated from my path. So, yet another transit point. Again I ask (this time a red shirt) “am I on the right path to area 6?” The look I get could have melted an iceberg! “This is Area 9 sir, did you not read the sign?” “What bloody sign?” I replied with a rather terse tone in my voice. Right! Now I was starting to have a little bit of a meltdown. “Don’t panic… Stay calm” I thought. Well, how wrong was I?

My appointment was scheduled for 1:30. To be fair to the person in the administration office who sent me the computer generated letter, advising me to allow up to 2 hours for this 5 minute consultation, was not to know that one hour and 44 minutes would be taken up trying to find the right clinic we’re they?

Off I go once again, I was beginning to question the use of the GPS on my phone. Would this help me find “Area 6?”

OK. Best thing to do here was to retrace my steps! I was under the pump. Time was ticking away and the countdown was on!

Finding my way back to the beginning of this maze was no easy feat! However, I managed it with a little help from a very friendly ‘blue shirt’. The woman who assisted me on this quest was an old soul! She had worked in the bowels of the old hospital, so nothing was going to faze her. She had seen it all in those darkened damp and foreboding corridors. We decided it might be a good idea to perhaps go to the cafeteria and stock up on some comfort fuel. This could be a long and windy adventure!

The quest had begun. “Finding Area 6” was underway and time was against us. Armed with her trusty walkie-talkie off we ventured. 

Into the lift, select the right level then proceed. Finally, I felt confident and began to relax, knowing that this trusty ‘blue shirt’ was indeed the hospital guide sent to me. I was at last beginning to relax as we rounded the corner, but then, the inevitable happened. A lost child! Sobbing and trying to talk at the same time was like eating and trying to laugh! My trusty guide went into ‘grannie’ mode, comforting and cuddling this child, assuring her everything would be all right and she would find mum! I felt completely rejected once again, but this child needed my friend more that I. I thought to myself, “I’m a grown man, how hard can this be?” Then I saw him, a shining light in green scrubs. My heart pounded with excitement as at last I felt I was close to the “Holy Grail”

“S’cuse me, can you tell me where ‘Area 6’ is please?” “Sure mate, it’s just along this corridor, if you see ‘Area 51’ you’ve gone too far!”

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Brian Portland

Broadcast Journalist.. Australasian Correspondent FSN Washington & London. Speech Writer..Motivational Speaker.. Production Voice Specialist.. Creative Writer.. (Speech, Print, Radio & Television) Double above knee amputee.. Motivational Speaker..(Available for any speaking engagement..)

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