Friday, April 01, 2005

Death, Oh why don't you call me. Quick!

As I alluded to recently, I feel and look as though I'm in reasonably good health. And as I concluded recently, I'm not as fit and well as I thought. Since this revelation, my health check centre has placed me on something called a protocol programme. This means my blood pressure and cholesterol will be closely monitored over the next 3 months to see if I'm likely to drop down dead any time soon.

I could for instance - if I ignore the warnings - drop out of service in a rather public way experiencing something of a Dr Robert Atkins moment, collapsing and expiring in front of astonished onlookers. Or perhaps I could end my days on my death-bed fighting the urges of the Grim Reaper and refusing to go gently into the good night whilst raging against the dying of the light like Dylan Thomas' dying dad. Maybe, maybe, I'd do a Ratso and curl up for a nap on a bus or train and check out quietly with serenely turned up toes and foetidly damp trousers.

If the news is as bad as they seem to be suggesting, those carrying out the checks and tut- tutting each time I register a reading of stratospheric proportions seem serenely calm about my life hanging by a thread. Serenely calm about these possible gloom-laden scenarios. A goodnight and God Bless to all type monstrous heart attack and stroke combo hanging over me Damocles-like, and due to drop if things don't change. After each visit I have to make another appointment, the date of which is seldom less than weeks if not months away. And all the while things inside me ain't working right. My body is destroying itself and this patient it seems has to be bloody patient indeed.

Today's appointment involved a second cholesterol test. After the trauma of 12 hours fasting, I turned up - not really being au-fait with these things, these . . . protocols, expecting a little pinprick, (note to self, always, always apply the prefix pin to prick, it cuts down on the cheap laughs through the unconscious priming of the witless), into the finger, and stealing myself for the sting. I don't do pinpricks well, I can be such a cowardly pinprick at times. But I wasn't really ready for the industrial sized hammer drill syringe and full metal jack-up gear that was quickly assembled for action.

Some nurses can be gentle compassionate creatures. Angels in fact. Mary Seacole type nurses who could be described as she was by one grateful soldier after the Crimean War : (as) 'A wonderful woman . . . all the men swore by her, and in case of any malady . . . That she did effect some cure is beyond doubt, and her never failing presence amongst the wounded after a battle and assisting them made her beloved by the rank and file of the whole army.' 'And she was gentle with a wonderful bedside manner he might have added. But he didn't. So I did.

This nurse, this tyrant, the Trunchbull in blue starch, was no gentle angel. Forearms like hams and all huffy no-nonsense-all-men-are-cowards-and-I'll-give-you-something-to-yowl-at face. Consider this real life sketch: Arm out, blood pressure check, extra little pump to make your finger nails feel like they're going to explode, malevolent grin. 'Still high.' Quick as a flash, jumper sleeve up, jack-hammer jacked, 'Ah look a vein, little prick' (no mention of the pin, she meant it!) Stab, pop, draw- sucker-pain, cotton wool press, ouch! 'Don't be a wimp. Get out!'

Well I made that last bit up, but she might as well have said it, or any of its sexually connotated variations. I'm in no hurry to make the sequel. Maybe I won't!

Dude - that's why i smoke and drink and eat lard straight from the pack. With a dirty spoon. We're all going downhill from the second we pop out. Enjoy it.
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