Monday, 2 October 2017


“Just a little prick” she said. No I’m not reporting a typical comment at a Party Conference

I was having blood taken before an operation on my foot and this was nurse with her hypodermic. She then gave me a cotton bud and asked for a “groin-swab” - that’s the private sector for you. My procedure’s a relatively trivial affair, (“procedure”s much less invasive than operation isn’t it?) for which, nonetheless, the surgeon would, if Afro-Caribbean, doing the same thing with a street knife, get a term inside. I am in short being set up for a legal assault. Privately.

The NHS is a great product but lacking in enough hygienic premises, charm and the money to keep going smoothly. Most out-patients departments are frankly grubby, grumpy and overloaded. In contrast private hospitals are carpeted, magazine-crammed and helpful. Patient service is high on the agenda. And they smile a lot.

It’ll be over in a day and then the recovery time, because it’s a load-bearing foot, is at least six weeks. My osteopath (I’m well served with medical people) said I’d be like a caged tiger by the end and asked if my wife was all right. “Nurse Hall is fine” I spat.

We shall see. Future blogs will either be self-pitying, morbid or non-existent. But I plan to read a lot. And write too, although with my leg having to be held above the level of my heart…yes I know, you try it…my writing output may be restricted. I shall regard it all as a holiday from life. A world of good meals on trays, glasses of wine, the random snooze, not well enough to do disagreeable things and having a pathetic small voice. And I’ll need a bell…and a role model.

And that of course is Mr Woodhouse in Jane Austen’s ‘Emma.’ Poor Henry Woodhouse was a “valetudinarian” - the only time I’ve ever seen the word. It means a person suffering from ill health (and being unduly anxious about it. I’m reminded of Spike Milligan’s immortal epitaph “I told you I was ill”.)

But it’s more serious than just a foot. It’s my mouth too.  I underwent an extraction - nearly an hour of yanking - and 1½ hours of intense root canal work. It was during the latter that bored to death I managed to go to sleep. Auto-anaesthesia is I gather uncommon. My dentist wanted to do what he could thereby maximising his fees in case I snuffed it in my foot operation. How can dentists be so jovial? Well as one in the past said to me “staring into mouths all day might be bad but imagine being a gynecologist.” 

I am well. But the health of this country is not so good. During my convalescence I shall think a lot.

There needs to be some serious surgery.

Bring back someone like Michael Foot! Apart from the pun (sorry) he was so much cleverer than Jeremy or Theresa.

No comments: