Susan Morrison: An idiot’s guide to hospital life

Doctor and patient. Stock image
Doctor and patient. Stock image
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The pain in my knee finally hit the ‘jings, this hurts’ level.

Constant gritting of my teeth had resulted in me speaking like a tribute Clint Eastwood act. Something had to be done, so I took myself off to the Western General Minor Injuries Clinic.

Nigel Farage. Picture; Steven Scott Taylor

Nigel Farage. Picture; Steven Scott Taylor

It’s a gem of the NHS, which makes me fear for its safety. Nothing this efficient can surely survive long in our current climate.

There’s a cheery receptionist, who greets you like a long-lost friend and can find you with incredible speed on her computer. She asks you loads of questions and I told her about my knee and she said, yep, sounds like a job for us.

Gosh, I thought, what a friendly young woman. I’ve made a new pal here.

She shares her desk with a life-sized plastic skeleton, which I think is indicative of current government thinking on adequate staffing levels.

I was whisked in to see an insanely cheery physio who immediately asked me about my knee. Gee whizz, I thought, this is impressive. How did she know what the problem was?

The penny dropped. The receptionist is not my new best pal. And these guys have been talking about me behind my back.

Kudos to the fantastic physio. She did not use that phrase so beloved of medics, ‘just hop on the couch here’. She used the word ‘hirple’. There is no better word to describe a limp.

She looked at the knee. It looks swollen, she said. Let’s see the other one.

Do you have to? I said, it’s just I only shaved my left leg today, in expectation of such an eventuality, but I was running late, so the right one still looks like a Guardsman’s busby. I’ve never heard anyone say ‘Tush’ with such ferocity.

We are not, she pointed out, doing a photoshoot for Vogue. Just as well, I thought. With my stumpy Glaswegian legs, I’d need a special four-page pull-out to account for the width.

Yep, she said. You’ve jiggered your meniscus.

It’s a thing in the knee joint. It absorbs impact and keeps bits of the mechanism in place, but mine has decided to go on a bit of a break, and now parts of the knee are wandering about clicking.

On one occasion the whole knee locked solid. She asked me what I did when completely jammed. I told her I hit it with a chair. She told me I was an idiot.

I found it hard to argue with that professional opinion, especially since that’s the second time I’ve been diagnosed as a complete twonk in the same hospital.

I broke a bone in my foot three years ago and took ten days to do anything about it.

The nurse on that occasion spot diagnosed me as an idiot, and the cleaner backed her up.

Who do these foreigners think they are, coming over here, looking after us

That Farrage one was right, you know. Foreigners are cluttering up our health services, given the number of accents I heard in the corridors.

Every accent was matched by a uniform, be it medic, nurse or bringing in old folks on wheelchairs.

Who do they think they are, coming over here and looking after us, eh?

The only harsh voice raised was Scottish. One of Edinburgh’s more pungent sons was taking issue.

His ankle was broken, said Dr Rank-Breath, and they’d better x-ray it. If he died in the night because of that broken ankle, he’d get his lawyer on to them, pronto.

It’s a frightening possibility that somehow the legal eagles of HowinjuredRU.com have found a way to communicate with those beyond the grave.

Seances will never be scary again.

Suddenly Uncle Dickie, who only wants to tell you about the flowers on the spiritual plane, will find himself being relentlessly badgered by cold-calling ghosthunters who want to talk to him about that accident he had.