Friday, 18 September 2015
The Wrath of Khan
My hand is in plaster......
The day before I am to go down to Marcham near Abingdon in Oxfordshire you find me at the Fracture Clinic at our local hospital.
I am amazed at the efficiency of our wonderful NHS. I turned up at 2 pm and sure as eggs is eggs the clock on the clinic wall said 2 pm. Marvellous! The twin brother orthopaedic surgeons Khan and Khan were in attendance, but unfortunately rather behind the times - by half an hour.
I arrived, joined the queue and was greeted by a smiling if bemused clinic administrator. Apparently I was the fifth appointment that wasn't appointed. I'd my appointment card detailing time and date, but the NHS Cloud enhanced appointment system was not functioning. I wasn't on the Khans' lists!
The clinic was jumpin'. We were packed to the rafters. You couldn't move for NHS crutches, plastered legs and jauntily angled broken arms. And still they came, unbidden, unappointed. I now know what it must be like on Kos.
Eventually, I manage to see "Chucks" the Orthopaedic Registrar. A lovely man, a face that showed resignation in every twitch. There in front of him was my photos. And my lungs! I explained that I was off on a course the next day and was hoping to drive down. It would help hugely if I wasn't plastered. Deep sucking of teeth, a nodding head, fingers pointing at an image of sheer horror on his computer. The uncensored pics of my hand. It was gross. Imagine a finger growing out of the middle of the back of your hand. That's what would have happened to me. My broken finger was way out of line and it needed straightening up. That meant no pussying around and hard core plastering.
The plasterer was a lovely man. I was directed to a waiting area around the corner from "Chucks". A lovely lady led me to a seat, gave me a ticket, took the ticket from me and ushered me into the bone fixing room. You see they can be efficient when they want to be.
Fester, for that is whom it was who greeted me with a friendly smile and a sack load of bandages, asking me to sit....next to a fully erect skeleton. "He been waiting a long?" I quipped. Fester's response was wrap me in swaddling bands and lie me in a manger.
It's amazing: in no time at all my hand was immobile. He looked lovingly on his latest creation, as well he should. It was a work of art, knocked Damien Hirst into a cocked hat. I was sent off to have the hand X rayed. Just to make sure that all the manipulation and the pain I'd suffered had had the desired effect - whatever that was meant to have been.
A quick trip to the X Ray department. I didn't have to wait. Must be something to do with those high energy rays they use. Anyway they packed off back to the fracture clinic. There to wait 'til the crack of doom. Well it was after 5 pm before I was seen and I was the last person in the clinic. It is hugely upsetting when the staff start cleaning around your feet, switch off the computers, air conditioning and lights and you still haven't seen the consultant.
Well "Chucks" actually, the Khans having left the building hours before. Fester had done a good job because on looking at the latest X rays of my hand a broad smile grew over Chuck's face. "I'll see you next week. If it's OK, fine if not we'll break the bones..Only joking." Since when has the NHS employed comics as doctors - answers in large brown envelopes to J Hunt.
And I was released and able to go home and contemplate the joys of a right handed man with his right hand immobilised.
The next day I was off to Denman College the home of the Women's Institute, in deepest Oxfordshire just outside Abingdon. Three days learning to write comedy sketches and the only man on the course: I couldn't wait.