Wednesday, April 13, 2016


The most frequent question you get asked in hospital is whether you've moved your bowels. (Yet.)

Early on my first post-op morning Richard, the rather brilliant young registrar, turned up on a ward round.
"Hello Richard, I'm Richard," he grinned, and for a moment I was confused. Then I recalled him.
"Yes! I remember! You came to dinner at our house once, when you were a medical student!"
"That's right - six years ago."
He was something of a star was Richard even in those days, a tall, athletic, slim, very handsome Maori boy that even his peers sang the praises of. It was Richard who Perry, the consultant, told off last month to sew Dr. Brewer's crushed ankle back together.
"Still playing rugby?"
"No. Don't want to get in a ruck."
We shook hands, and the nurse asked the inevitable question.
"Have you moved your bowels yet?"
Richard has a marvellous smile but you never know whether he's laughing at or with you.
"Why is it," he asked, "that everyone comes in here with a broken bone and all they worry about is their bowels?"

But as a matter-of-fact, it's quite true. Morphine may well be a dramatic pain reliever, but it has a soporific effect on your innards, and peristalsis largely gives in, tidies its desk, and goes home for the duration leaving your bum with little else to do than occasionally issue audible existential reminders. Everyone knows about it, and after three days nobody's embarrassed any more and you find yourself having animal function conversations with elegant ladies as you both push your wheeled frames into adjacent cubicles - "I hope it isn't just going to be passing wind again - how are you getting on, young man? Anything yet?"

But only when they let you out and you stop the morphine tablets does the storage facility give way. Then the world falls out of your bottom. You are so startled by the size of it that you phone the vicar to have it baptised. You don't want the constipation again so you resolve to stick with just 2 ibuprofen & 2 paracetamol every 6 hours as pain relief, and you avoid codeine which has a bad press in that department. Little 100gn aspirin to stop your blood congealing into Campbell's soup. Lots of fruit so you don't have to eat little brown tablets. You find, what with the difficulties associated with normal trouser security but a non-functioning leg, the best source of mictural relief is to whip it out and piss on the lawn, and a foolish attempt to use a fruit-juice bottle at night, plugging it demonstrably airtight with the end of the relevant organ, gives way to an altogether more successful bucket balanced on a stool (the sort you sit on, not the sort you do) in the bedroom, with garden litter inside both to prevent back-splash and to absorb everything into future high-nitrogen compost. - Thus is reinvented the Earth Closet.

Anticipating that not everyone wishes to read any more about this particular aspect of injury, we will move on to more socially acceptable highlights shortly.

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Blogger GroundFlyer said...

having experienced some of the above biological malfunctions as a result of cycle related injuries and poor genetics- your account made me laugh so much that I almost wet myself!

September 4, 2016 at 2:31 AM  

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