It is great being out of the hospital. Don’t get me wrong – I am delighted that the operation has been done. The staff members in the hospital were brilliant and I do appreciate everything that was done for me in St. James’s, but hospital is still I pretty rough place to be holed up for any length of time. So I am glad to be a free man again. Being out of the ward, however, doesn’t mean that now I am entirely free from the hospital. My surgeon has gone and left a big hole in my backside which now needs ongoing attention from the South African nurse in the Dressings Clinic where I am treated as an outpatient. Reichsmarschall Ellen, I am sure, is a lovely woman to the people in her life whose arses she doesn’t have to repackage every other day, but to patients she has something of a reputation for being something of an ‘ex-military, no-nonsense hard-ass.’ Having now had personal experience of her loving ministrations I can confirm that she is indeed a no-nonsense sort of lady. I don’t know about her past military career, but my bottom certainly does feel like it has been the target of a strategic Spring Offensive.

There was simply no placating this nurse. After being warned by a person whose identity I feel I now ought to protect I did everything in the book to be friendly and polite. Nothing washed. She had missed her break and was about to take out her frustrations on my bum. Two days prior to my appointment with the Dressings Clinic my wound was gauze packed by nurses on the ward who made a point of admonishing me to go nowhere near the dressing. I wouldn’t know what to do anyway so I left it to the care of the clinic. That turned out to be a huge mistake. Ellen took the fact that my seventy-two hour dressing hadn’t been changed in forty-eight hours as proof of my laziness, poor personal hygiene and general moral inferiority. She asked why I had not changed it, I threw the other nurses under the bus, and she wanted to know why I had listened to them. Why in God’s name would I be taking medical advice and directions on the care of a wound dressing from a nurse? The mind boggles. I figured that this was one I just had to take for the team. As she tore away at my open flesh I contented myself – between screams – by whistling Deutschland Deutschland Über Alles.

On a humorous note, this tweet asking for a little dignity from a hospital’s member of staff managed to get @urfhasaidh blocked from following St. James’s Hospital on Twitter or reading any of its tweets. Perhaps it is time to resort to snail mail.


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