Monday moanings to one and all. Here’s yesterday’s column. Happy reading.
A MILLION MILES FROM NORMAL – By Paige Nick IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE?
It’s that time of year again. Back to school, back to work, back to whatever it is that you do for a living. It’s a good thing I’m a writer, there’s not much else I’m any good at, unless watching reality TV and drinking whisky suddenly became a paying career while I was out.
When it came to choosing what I was going to do for a living, back in the dark ages, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, my options were pretty limited. Only because maths is beyond me, as is fashion, I can’t cook to save my life, my customer service skills are under developed, there’s nothing I can fix, and I would have made a truly terrible doctor. For starters I have no idea where the spleen is, or what it’s meant to do. And I can never remember whether the appendix is on the left hand side or the right hand side of the abdomen.
My complete medical uselessness means that even the slightest hint of an ache anywhere sends me into a flat panic. If the pain is in my stomach area I’m usually instantly convinced that my appendix, which I can neither locate nor explain, is about to inflate to the size of a soccer ball and then explode inside me, shooting organ-shrapnel all over my lungs (which I imagine to be somewhere in that general vicinity). Fortunately in the end I usually discover the pain was just because I ate too many grapes. Like I said, you really wouldn’t want me as your doctor.
And it’s not just squeamishness and a basic lack of anatomical knowledge, mixed in with an overactive imagination that would hinder any potential future career I might have in medicine. Hospitals freak me out too.
Even if I’m just visiting someone for a happy reason like the birth of their baby, or recovery from a personality transplant, or your basic surgical sense of humour enhancement, or just because they don’t want their hospital jelly (I wouldn’t want it to go to waste).It doesn’t matter; the second I step inside a hospital I go a bit dilly. First I start to sweat, I’ve also been known to stutter, and more often than not I’ll inadvertently say wildly inappropriate things. Like ‘Oh my goodness, I nearly died!’ Or ‘Man, it’s so quiet; it’s like a morgue in here.’
So, if you’re looking for me in a hospital, I’ll be the sweaty moron bumbling around the ward with jelly on my face, trying not to knock a patients’ IV bag out the window.
I suspect this awkward lack of body temperature regulation, coordination and social skills might have something to do with the fact that whenever I find myself in a hospital, I’m mostly wandering around in awe. Doctors and nurses astonish me.
Being a writer, what you do is hardly saving lives. Plus I only studied for one year after high school, and at least seventy percent of that was spent drinking. These people study for decades, millennia even. If I make a mistake, the word ‘unbiased’ gets spelt wrong, if these guys make a mistake, your liver ends up where your kidney used to be. They’ve seen what we look like on the inside, people, and they like it.
It takes a very special kind of person to be able to do what they do and not vomit. Not to mention having to put up with all the awkward, inappropriate, overly-nervous visitors they have to deal with. And I would imagine that no amount of studying can prepare one for that. So I guess going into 2012 I’d better stick with the writing.