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Wednesday, 5 October 2022

And possibly breed shame elsewhere

My gentle tribute. I’d like to up their pay but lack the resources. This is my best shot. While they laugh they may briefly forget being under-valued by the politicoes.

OP ONE: The mouth. Biopsy on slightly enlarged neck gland (yesterday).

Nurse guides me from reception to oddly named Ultrasound room

RR: Glad you’re with me. A person could get lost in here.

Nurse: Oh, if only I could.

RR: Hey, that’s my line.

Nurse: (Brilliant smile)

Surgeon agitates bottle of antiseptic; droplets accidentally spray my bared chest.

Surgeon: Sorree!

RR: It’s like some rite, preparing a gruesome public sacrifice.

Surgeon: (Chuckles, deep down).

Procedure is over. Wobbling somewhat, I descend from the table of butchery.

Surgeon: Don’t forget your fleece and jacket. Wherever it was we put them.

RR: I warn you; they won’t sell for much.

Surgeon and nurse: (Snigger as a duet).

OP TWO: The bowel. Oncology surgeon telephones me at home with results of post-chemo scan five weeks ago (today).

Surgeon: Nothing to worry about.

RR: Phew.

Surgeon (As a throwaway line): But you do have a gall stone.

RR: Given what you said earlier I’m gonna have it out, then pierced, then hung from a necklace.

Surgeon: (Short silence followed by rumble of laughter.).


  1. When I had my varicose veins done many years ago the surgeon reversed the humour onto me,

    "It was like Preston Main Drain down there."

    1. Sir Hugh: My varicose-vein surgeon (back in the late seventies) was less comical. Said he'd only had one worse patient than me and that was a local postman. Which seemed to undermine the received wisdom that regular walking keeps varicose veins at bay.

  2. That's very funny. It's wonderful to have a sense of humor at the hospital. Hope all goes well with that gallstone removal. It will be interesting to see that necklace.

  3. NewRobin13: In fact I started practising hospital humour rather earlier than I've indicated in this post. As I was being wheeled to the theatre on a gurney for the bowel op just before Christmas 2021 I discovered my surgeon (all dressed up in his blues) was ambling along behind. He was called McIlroy and I asked him why did everyone in the hospital mis-pronounce his surname. Rather good-naturedly, I thought, he said he expected things would improve if a golfer from Northern Ireland, with the same surname, won another tournament.

    For me good humour seemed the most appropriate option. At 86 I could hardly whinge about finding myself in hospital with any kind of ailment. If it wasn't Big C it was likely to be something else, equally obnoxious. Later, during my chemo-therapy session. I disovered that most chemo recipients - while not up to cracking jokes - seemed to have adopted a quiet, philosophical response. I approved of this, saw it as stereotypically English. I was also reassured since, at the time, England was undergoing its own Trumpian-type horrors under a prime minister called Johnson, leading me to feel ashamed about sharing the same nationality with him.

    1. My brother is into his eighth week in hospital and was an expert at hospital humour until he was so poorly that it was no longer a joke. I'm happy to say that he's on the mend and hospital food is once again the source of a good laugh.
      The Queen's funeral left me feeling strangely proud to be British for the first time in a long time.

    2. Jean: I have - in a sense - replied to this comment via A House in France.