The performer revels in the adoration, the screams and cheers of thousands of fans. He hears them scream his name, sing every lyric of every song and raucously applaud everything he says or does. I hear the scream for help, the cry of a frightened fan with blood running down her face. I hear security shout for me as yet another person staggers out and collapses against a pole, or is carried out by anxious friends. I hear the same stories time and time again, from nearly every patient who walks through our doors.
He sees them jump up and down with excitement, he sees the wide smiles on their faces, the signs splashed with his name and his T-shirts on every body. He sees attractive young women winking at him and smiling suggestively as they bare much in their concert attire. I see the police hauling yet another obnoxious drunk out of the crowd, tossing him out before he creates yet another patient for me. I see the blood hit the floor, drying into deep red-purple stains, a surprisingly beautiful colour against the dingy tile. I see knees buckle as people collapse, their pale and sweaty faces showing fear through their weakness. I watch the crowd closely, picking out those who will soon join me, seeing potential patients in every corner. I see a scantily clad woman fighting to stay upright on huge heels as she stumbles around in a drunken haze, eventually failing miserably and hitting the floor in a pile of skin, makeup and beer.
He smells the smoke from the pyrotechnics mingling with the odour of alcohol and sweat from the massive crowd. I smell the fruity tropical drinks in the vomit my young patient is spewing everywhere, I smell the alcohol on the breath of every patient who stumbles in. I smell smoke and blood, beer and vomit. The inescapable odour permeates my uniform and my hair, searing itself into my very pores.
He feels the thunderous bass shaking the stage beneath his feet, he feels the touch of frantic hands against his feet, his legs, his hands. I feel the grip of a drunk young woman on my hand, her fingers locking through mine in a desperate attempt to regain stability. I feel the swelling grow in a broken nose, I feel my sweat on my forehead as I try to stem the ever-rising tide into the first aid post.
He sings of the glories of alcohol, I see none of it. The young women who came in attractively dressed now slump to the floor, skirts riding up and shirts hanging low, with no control over themselves. Men who come in quietly leave with an escort of blue, or stumble out in a cloud of profanity. I spend the entire evening treating what alcohol has done to these people, and can't help but realize the discord between my experience and the ones glorified in his songs.