There are times when I’m really convinced that I have learning difficulties. Take this morning, for instance. Why did I have to open my mouth and stick most of my foot in it when the pretty young registrar came round to ask me how I was feeling?
The young lady in question is very charming. Each weekday morning she checks up on me on behalf of my consultant and then reports back to the big man if there are any problems. And my God is she thorough.
“Did you have a good weekend?” she asked.
“Fine, thanks,” I replied.
“And how is the pain?” she enquired.
“Not too bad except I keep getting muscle spasms and contractions in my thigh,” I replied, trying to be helpful. I could have bitten my tongue as soon as the words tumbled from my mouth. I knew I'd made a mistake as her eyes narrowed and she examined my leg.
“Are you eating bananas,” she asked.
“Er… yes,” I replied, somewhat bemused.
“I think we need to check your blood salts,” she declared. And with that she drew back the curtains and exited the room.
I swear that no more than a minute elapsed before a phlebotomist appeared at the foot of my bed. She must have been hovering like a vampire outside my door just waiting for the signal to descend like some bride of Dracula. I didn’t even have time to string up a row of garlic or retrieve the crucifix from the bedside cabinet.
“Date of birth!” she barked.
You can always tell a professional blood taker in a hospital. It’s not the white coats and the ever-present little tray in their hands, but for some reason the typical phlebotomist invariably sports peroxide hair, a fake tan that could embarrass an Oompa Loompa and more make-up than an Elizabeth Arden warehouse. There’s a sadistic look about them that can freeze the blood and cause your veins to collapse in double-quick time.
“Do you have any baby needles,” I asked in a feeble voice. She ignored me.
“Which is your best arm?” the harpy snapped.
“Neither,” I replied. “I’m not very good with blood.”
She took not a blind bit of notice as she trussed up my left arm with a piece of rubber tourniquet and then slapped it with all the tenderness of Miss Whiplash with a nasty case of PMT. Before I could wince she muttered something about a sharp scratch and plunged a needle the size of a crowbar into my arm as though she were harpooning a whale.
I’m not really sure what happened next as I’m certain I momentarily passed out, only to come round as she was taping a large ball of cotton wool over the crater left by her lancet.
So you’ll forgive me if I sign off now as I’m still feeling rather weak from this vicious assault by someone who so obviously enjoys their work. Please, God, prevent me from opening my big mouth the next time the nice young lady comes round to ask me how I am.