|They're going to cut a hole in me
||Feb. 13th, 2003|06:11 pm|
Well, I need an operation. Or, at least, my quality of life would be improved by a non-essential operation to free a trapped nerve in my thigh. For over a year now I've had a numb patch on the side of my right leg, with a small line of fiery pain that sometimes flares up in the heart of it. Last September my doctor referred me to a neurologist and on Tuesday my appointment finally came around, despite the best efforts of the hospital to cancel it at Christmas in a bid to cut waiting lists.|
I have to say, the appointment was pure comedy. The consultant I saw was straight out of central casting, and so was his houseman - a student neurologist learning at the feet of the master, so to speak. The consultant was English, sandy-haired, confident, with a classic reassuring manner, a twinkle in his eye and a supreme air of patrician authority. I liked him immediately. The houseman was Asian, deferential, eager to please and to succeed, with a broad grin straight out of a dodgy 70s sitcom. The consultant continually jollied him along with questions about my diagnosis, praising his correct answers and prompting him when he faltered.
- When the houseman was examining me he kept producing new and interesting objects with which to prod, poke or prick me, introducing them descriptively and repetitively with single words: "Blunt, blunt" or "Sharp, sharp." It was like watching Tommy Cooper - "Egg, glass. Glass, egg."
- After he'd bounced a rubber hammer off my various leg joints for a while the consultant pottered into the examining room and watched quizzically. There followed this exchange: "Did you get a reflex?", "No, no reflex", "Do you know why you didn't?", "N-no", "Because you were doing it wrong, that's why." And he took the hammer, twisted my leg into some strange byzantine loop, and rapped it sharply. I practically kicked a hole in the ceiling.
- As I put my trousers back on, I heard them talking back in the consulting room. The houseman was asking, through not terribly fluent English, where he could acquire an orange object with which to scrape the soles of patients' feet when testing for sensation. The consultant replied, absolutely dead-pan, that he didn't need one of those because the only appropriate object to use for that task was the key to a Bentley. It took the houseman a while to understand the joke, but when he did he gravely asked if any other car key could be used. The consultant replied that it had to be a Bentley, and I said if he tried to scrape my feet with a Ford Fiesta key there'd be trouble.
You really don't expect a hospital visit to be a barrel of laughs, but this one was. How very strange.
In other news the hospital, which is right by Heathrow Airport, had an unusual number of police around it and the next day (yesterday) when I went into Hounslow for a Lib Dem meeting there were police at Hounslow Central Tube station too. Haven't seen any troops but I'm sure they can't be far away. This is all starting to get a bit ominous, but really what could a few soldiers and police do if there actually is a big terrorist threat? They can't come even close to covering all the ground beneath the flight paths. Am looking forward to the anti-war march at the weekend greatly.
I hear they have arrested two men who were on the perimeter of the airport looking shifty. I hope they were Greek planespotters.
And finally... remember there was an e-mail campaign for people to put their religion down as "Jedi" when the census forms came round? It says here that 390,000 did so...