The letter from the hospital read “You may wish to bring someone along with you as you will be groggy after the procedure” not “You should…” I know. I checked it.
Arrival to have the ulcer fixed was met with raised eyebrows as I was alone. “You’ve brought no one, no one at all?” the admitting nurse asked me in disbelief. Looking round the waiting room people were paired off. I thought I must have missed something.
“But the letter didn’t say it was mandatory,” I offered. The nurse held her palms towards the heavens, “OK but you will be giddy afterwards.” I wanted to say ‘I am always giddy,’ but when I turned to offer the quip I realised there WAS no one with me.
Spotting a solo seat in the waiting area amongst a sea of duos, I said too loudly; “It’s OK, my wife works here, a couple of floors down.” Coupled patients whispered to their ‘bring someone along with you.’ I think they felt sorry for me; “Ahh, he has no one so he is pretending his wife works downstairs in the hospital.”
Luckily, I did not have to suffer the brunt of their pity for long as the doctor summoned me almost immediately. He looked like Jackie Chan and spoke very broken English with a camp lilt. “You have no one with you?” he lisped, “You need someone with you.” I resisted the urge to ask him if that was an offer for fear he might throw a ninja star at me.
Dr Jackie Chan went through the obligatory outline of medical history/what the procedure entailed. I watched him intently, certain that at some point his voice and lips would go out of synch in the true tradition of martial arts films. “You be sreepy (sic) after. You sure you have no one?”
Ten minutes later and I was flat-out on a hospital bed. Dr Jackie Chan did seven back flips as he came at me with what looked like a ball gag from a gimp porno. “You bite this, it keep air way open and I put tube down throat.” I could resist no longer, “Shouldn’t you buy me dinner first?”
A chubby Korean nurse entered the room, telling me she would numb my oesophagus. Instantly I imagined she was another character in the martial arts film: Lotus Lin. ‘There’s going to be trouble.’ I thought, ‘She is from the evil house of Shaolin or something and in a minute she is going to start levitating and trying to kick Jackie’s arse.’
My massive gag reflex is a focus of endless entertainment for my wife (she was downstairs, dear readers, I swear). Therefore it was not unexpected when I started to gag as Lotus anesthetised my pipes . “My wife would find this funny, she laughs when I gag,” I offered. “You know, she is down…”
I didn’t finish the sentence as Jackie Chan was cramming a thin black snake down my throat.
‘How symbolic,’ I thought.
The whole procedure was done in minutes. One could argue the whole movie was over in minutes. The two feuding houses using their mystical black snake found the ulcer and fixed it. I am not sure if it was the anaesthetic but I could have sworn someone was stroking my hand throughout. I tried to say, “Grasshopper, when you can snatch the pebble from my hand…” but it was useless. There was too much equipment stuffed in my mouth and down my throat.
Dr Jackie Chan and Lotus Lin told me that my throat will be sore for a day or so. Understatement. As I am writing this I can’t even talk. When I get my voice back I will be having words with Mrs Head: “Where were you? Every other patient had someone there but I was Billy No-Mates. Are you trying to stress me out and give me an ulcer?”
She will tell me it is my own fault and laugh when I tell her how much I gagged. That will be my moment. I will Yin a Yang or something for bringing dishonour to our family.
Keep the Faith,