A couple of years ago I went for a gastroscopy. Or was that a gastrectomy? …The one where they place a camera up yer bum, looking for the scenic route to Uranus. That one. I won’t go in to details, but I’ll just say that thankfully I got the all-clear afterwards. Anyway, I thought I’d share a little non-medical moment from that day…
There were around six or seven of us undergoing the same procedure that morning. For some reason, I was last to be called, so I got to witness the comings and goings of each of the others.
One by one, each of them was carted off and returned unconscious half an hour later.
“Johnny?” the nurse called to the first patient, gently shaking his shoulder.
Johnny woke up in a mid-sentence-mumble before replying.
“Yeah. Yeah. What?” he cried out, clearly unsure where he was or why he was there.
“You’re back to us Johnny. Do you feel alright?”
“Have a rest a while there so. Would you like some tea and toast in a while?”
Some minutes passed as Johnny dozed some more. The silence was punctured only by his posteriaural interjections.
A little while later the same nurse returned with some tea & toast and placed it before Johnny, having made certain he was alright.
“It tastes nice after being out doesn’t it?” she asks Johnny.
“Beautiful” says Johnny.
“Have you broken wind yet since returning?”
Johnny glances furtively around and I have to turn away in case he notices that I’m waiting for his answer. So I miss the silent nod.
This scene is repeated for each of the others throughout the morning. At certain moments the room sounds like the polite tunings from an orchestra-pit before a big show. We had violins, clarinets, a piccolo and the odd hushed tuba.
Each time the nurse has no qualms about asking aloud the same personal question for all to hear (as if we hadn’t heard enough already). In the middle of her polite chit-chat she calmly enquires if the patient has broken wind yet.
Finally my turn came. It was already after 2pm. I was carted off and returned in the same unconscious state as the others before me. The difference this time of course was that I didn’t disgrace myself with any audio outbursts while I slept. I was awoken by the same polite nurse and participated in some pleasant banter before finally being offered some refreshments. Gratefully I accepted.
I must admit that that tea & toast really did taste exquisite after my ordeal. Clearly the nurse felt I had been through enough as she didn’t bother to ask if I had broken any wind since the procedure. It’s nice to know that even in this semi-comatose state I had clearly impressed her enough with my silent dignity and humanity that she didn’t feel the need to approach me with such indignant inquiries.