Friday 17th August 2018
Reading time 3 minutes 07 seconds
They say laughter is the best medicine. That’s a lie, it’s Morphine
My friend’s mother was about to go in for a hip operation. Having been through this myself I offered to speak to her to try and alleviate her fears about the upcoming procedure and whilst planning the key points to tell her I wondered how to explain that you need to lie to escape hospital.
My main memory before my own operation was that I was going to die. I’ve experienced that on stage many times, but I thought my actual death could be a whole lot worse. A hip replacement is a common operation in Britain and I was given a checklist of what to expect. It seemed straightforward but crucial items on the list were conveniently ‘forgotten’ namely that I would have stuff inserted into my bottom. It’s not that I’m against that, it’s just there is a time and a place.
Day three Post Operation. I had survived. Bonus.
I was lapping up the pain medication and was so high that I had a conversation with a giant cat’s head that was coming out of the wall. The cat informed me that I wouldn’t remember the conversation and she was right, I didn’t. A nurse arrived and said they wanted to ‘ship me home’. The term seemed appropriate as I felt like a brave little soldier who had been in the wars.
Before I could leave however I had to answer one question correctly. Great, I love Quizzes.
“Had my Bowels moved?”
If this was a Quiz it felt like University Challenge as I didn’t understand the question. The nurse then rephrased and said “Had I experienced a Bowel Movement?” I still didn’t have a clue what she was saying and if this had been Uni Chally [that’ll catch on] then Paxman would have berated me but the nurse just looked flabbergasted as she was here to help people in need not to teach them rudimentary English.
She dumbed it down to my level. “Have you had a poo love?”
What on earth did she mean? Did she mean ever? Why was she asking me this? Is nothing sacred? I looked down at the bed in embarrassment. Phew I hadn’t. Now she was getting a little irate. Had I gone since my operation? You mean the operation where they snapped my leg and cut my bottom? The answer was No I hadn’t been to the toilet as I didn’t want to assume that position just yet.
She explained they needed the bed and promised to help with the bowels as I couldn’t leave until I’d been.
It was then I realised I should have lied.
Due to my hip agony I’d been on morphine for over a year and the amount I was on now was Trainspotting worthy. The thing about Morphine is that it does slow and stop your bowel movements and Dr. Wills was now learning the medical lingo. The nurse pulled out some bits and pieces from her toolkit. I enquired as to the nature of these implements and she explained that she was going to insert a device into my rectum (aka my bum) and would squeeze the contents of this one litre bag of “stuff” and let nature do the rest.
Nature and the rest sounded lovely, the beginnings of the procedure sounded somewhat troublesome. I enquired if they could give me a pill but the Nurse said no, and she held in her hand what I can only describe as a Nerf gun which was about to go into the place where the sun doesn’t shine. She pulled the curtain around my bed to give me a semblance of privacy then, without a smile or even a look in my eye, she inserted the tip of the world’s biggest water pistol inside little old me. I’d like to tell you it was horrible, but I’d be lying.
She then squeezed the trigger and I squealed possibly in delight as the “stuff” went up me. I felt like the old lady who swallowed a Spider as it wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her. Quickly she whipped out the ‘gun’ and told me to wait, for what she didn’t say but she said she’d be back in 20 minutes.
Hang on. Where are you going? “Well”, she said, “it’s a busy hospital and we do have other patients.”
Moments later my insides started to do the Lambada and I was beginning to freak a little. The orderly arrived with my lunch and whipped the curtain back from around my bed. I tried to hold onto my dignity but with the curtain pulled back the other patients, and their visitors, were looking at me in my naked state. Not only was I naked but I also had an erection because of the Nerf gun. My embarrassment was complete.
He left my food on the side and as he left he didn’t completely close the curtain, so I managed to tell a few of my fellow patients to lie about the Bowel question. The nurse reappeared and enquired as to my well-being so I told her about my disco dancing insides, my erection shame and asked if she’d mind closing the curtain.
It all went wrong as she went to lift me up.
My Bowels did what they were supposed to do and evacuated with the force of the red sea returning to its pre-Moses state. The nurse had clearly overdone the bum medicine but it meant the hospital could now have the bed, albeit not in the state they would have preferred.
My friend Jonny pointed out that metaphorically speaking you could say I had just done what Jeremy Hunt was doing to the NHS at the time.
It took me a while to get to cleaned up physically. Mentally my dignity still hasn’t returned, the brave little soldier returned a changed person and I guess the other day, when those children called me Mr Poopy Bum Head (week 30), there was an element of truth to it, for me and the nurse.
Picture: Me on stage at the Fringe. I’m probably required by GDPR to protect the guys identity so I had to Blur his face.