The English Patient

“You’ve heard of a French letter, yeah? Well, what’s a Dutch letter? A condom with clogs on so they can hear you coming” (boom boom).

“Did you hear about the two queers in a telephone box? They were ‘ringing’ (geddit?), ringing each other”.

And so I found myself transported back in time to when Jim Davidson was allowed, the mini metro was cutting edge technology and sexual assault was regarded as a little light flirting. A time when the classification of ‘rape’ was reserved for activities including the actual blindfolding and torture of young ladies in darkly lit back alleys in Whitechapel.

The ‘joker’ lay almost flat on his back on the opposite hospital bed. He wore, or rather was draped, in an NHS gown which barely covered his legs. The flap of the gown rode up so high on his thigh that it invited a shrivelled walnut shaped hairy scrotum to make its appearance, but thankfully we were spared. His dark sunken eyes and sallow complexion, his wrinkled turtle necked skin upholding a blotchy, mottled liver spotted complexion which, thanks to hair loss, covered his whole pate, were all testament to years of smoking. He rasped his jokes in between sucking in oxygen through plastic nasal speculae, while his rheumy eyes, long devoid of sparkle, attempted to project wit, but utterly failed to do so. Instead, Death’s bony fingers drummed impatiently on the bedside table, perhaps waiting for his cue, and certainly waiting for the end of the jokes.

“OH, DO SHUT UP”, Death silently boomed into his ear, “YOU ARE ALREADY LATE”.

Why it did not occur to Death to merely sever the plastic oxygen tube with one wing of the scythe is something to regret, no doubt, and to take to his grave, always supposing Death has a grave.

 

A hospital ward is not always a happy place.

It might be something to do with the people who go there. It might be something to do with the amount of forced cheer amid the pools of blood, piss and broken dreams. It is often a place in which a lifetime’s aspirations, vision and long hoped for achievement smash into the reality of desperation and blood flecked sputum often spewed out through clouds of alcohol infused breath and fag ash. A place where one hoped to live but come to die, where the milk of human kindness is not supposed to curdle, and where faith, hope and charity are not merely long faded memories or the names of a trio of white doe eyed fluffy kittens the vet accidentally put down after mixing up the lab results with that of a cancer riddled mutt with rabies.

The patients are not much better. especially when they tell jokes.

So, I find myself admitted for investigations and treatment after spending a brightly lit and noisy night in the ED. Ah, sleep, perchance to dream of fluffy pillows, soft warm duvets and dark peace. Imagine, if you can, being in a K hole but with operating theatre lights trained to hit your retina with the brightness of a thousand Hiroshimas. Noise assaults your every sense, you can even taste it. It’s not the EDs fault…for how else can they help assess, diagnose and treat humanity’s fear, stupidity and decrepitude. The only people at peace here are the near dead (and the actual dead).

“WELL, WHAT DID THEY EXPECT WITH THE ‘IRISHMAN WALKS INTO A BAR’ ROUTINE.”

 

I’m keeping my witticisms to the minimum over the next few days.

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