When you read this piece I’ll likely be looking up at the theatre’s bright light at the Vincent Pallotti Health Care Hospital.
To take my mind off what I’m in for, I force myself to recall a particular visit to my local GP a decade ago that could’ve been a script for another “Carry on Doctor”.
I had picked up a virus doing the rounds. The one attacking the bronchial mechanism. It probably lodged in my sinuses at a jam-packed cheese festival held in a draughty tent when a beehive purple rinse lady squeezed up against my back, sneezed, spreading a mixture of cheddar and blue cheese immersed in red pinotage down my neck. The virus enjoyed the surfing.
That same night came the never-ending coughing, forcing my Heidi into the spare room. Next day saw no improvement, so I was given the choice: doctor or hospital. I'm bundled into the car, barefoot and still in my tatty gown. The good doctor was awaiting my arrival like a vulture sniffing blood.
His surgery was unconventional. More like live theatre presenting a oneman stage play.
Before doing any prognosis, the doctor jocularly tells about patients he had just manhandled (sic). He fancies himself a shrink, and figures a few funny stories would take the strain off the patient. And it works well.
I'm now ready for the full treatment with in-depth inspections up the nose, down the throat and in the ears.
Then the freezing stethoscope against fevered body with the instruction to breathe in and out. It results in a paroxysm of coughing that has poor doc frantically groping for a nose guard. Too late. The virus is back in the surf.
But the show goes on.
Act Two. “Now for a double jab to kill the germ dead. We'll practise on your right bumsy-whumsy and if that doesn't work we'll tackle the left one.” The practice shot hits an artery, with my precious O being absorbed in the assistant's swabs.
“Not to worry, old son, the second one always gets home.” And it does, because I feel a prick - and then each painful drop of serum as it flows into a tiny vein unused to a flood of foreign fuels.
But I survived.
Until today, that is.
The surgeon approaches. My heart skips a beat. A Sid James lookalike wearing scrubs looks down on me. I expect to hear the familiar, “Lights, camera, action”. Nothing like it. Only a friendly, “Relax, Mr B, you’re in good hands” from Dr H.
So my only role is that of a patient with a dysfunctional aorta. I’m tempted to reply, “Just carry on, doctor”, but think it prudent to remain mum. After all, he wields the scalpel.