By Phil Weir
I was recently off work for a week with a condition that may or may not have been a pinched nerve – the jury is still out.
And from whereabouts in my matador-cum-ballet-dancer-like frame did the agony emanate?
Well, imagine human anatomy as a poorly-detailed medieval map of the world. My discomfort had its epicentre at a spot just south of the Dark Continent’s equator, bordering on the nether regions, and involved a pain that shot all the way up the Nile as far as Cairo. The malady had come on quite suddenly, the cause was unknown, and before I could say ‘Yaroo! Yaroo! And thrice Yaroo!’ I was laid up prone, with a choice of only one position that allowed me even a hint of comfort.
During the course of my suffering I called the doc out twice. His first visit left both he and I none the wiser about the affliction. However, he said if the agony continued or worsened I was to summon him again. Two days passed and, with no let-up, I was back on the blower to GPHQ.
As I awaited the second coming, I was perusing Youtube on my iPad and had a painful giggle at some footage of three Dutch ravers dancing at a music festival, a clip to which some wag had added the theme music from the old Benny Hill TV show, the tune which usually accompanied the comedian or a sidekick being pursued around a park at exaggerated speed by scantily clad women.
It was so funny I shared the short movie to my Facebook page. With that I heard the garden gate open. The doc approached. I put the iPad on the tallboy by the bed and awaited his arrival in the boudoir. He duly entered and, after a Q&A, and some requests for me to wave my legs in the air, he slipped on a rubber glove. It was time for him to probe for a hernia. As ordered, I went supine on the bed and he began to rummage in the old luggage compartment.
And at that point, as if operated by the mischievous invisible stylus of a poltergeist, my iPad sprang into life and the Benny Hill theme rang out loudly around the room.
Momentarily taken aback, the doc quickly spotted my mobile phone on the bedside table and, thinking it was my ringtone, made a lunge for it and gave it a quick fumble.
Of course, he’d misdiagnosed the situation. However, in the meantime, I’d managed to batter my iPad into submission.
Oh how we laughed, as he finally came to some conclusions as to my condition (and also, no doubt. what I watched on my iPad when home alone). A trapped nerve he reckoned, but he said I’d need a scan.
Fast forward a couple of days to Queen Margaret Hospital at Dunfermline, where I turned up for an ultrasound scan, or, as I’d been calling it for extra gravitas and through stupidity, “An Ultra Scan”.
Things began poorly. Within 30 seconds of entering the consulting room of the venerable radiologist, an ageing Greek who may have gone by the name Achilles Parthenon, I managed to faux pas badly, not once but twice.
While the magician of the Aegean did something in the corner (I suspected an examination of the entrails of a lamb), his assistant asked me to mount the operating table, to lie on my back and to lower my trousers.
I decided to go that extra mile. I lowered my trousers AND my underpants. He winced and said the lowering of the underpants wasn’t necessary and urged me to pull them back up. I complied.
He then handed me two or three extra-huge man-size tissues and gestured towards my re-underpanted loins.
I understood him perfectly.
I proceeded to tuck the corners of the tissues, say 25% of their mass, inside the elasticated band of my briefs, with the main part of the tissues rising and arranged, fanlike, across my lower abdomen, pretty much as the feathers on a Red Indian Chief’s head-dress stand up and spread from the headband across his noble, mesa-hued brow, but with a touch of Gypsy Rose Lee burlesque coyness thrown in.
In retrospect I can only put this double attempt at self-display down to the mind-bending effects of too many paracetomol and ibuprofen.
Again the magician’s assistant cried, “No!” I was to simply array the tissues on top of myself in a free-form way to prevent gel from the Ultra Mega Scan proboscis messing my undergarment.
I complied and the procedure proceeded until it could proceed no more, with the ‘ologist’ making no great discoveries, and at no time did he utter the word ‘Eureka!’
How am I now? The pain has gone, the cause remains mysterious, I have had my iPad exorcised, and whenever my doc and I meet we just snigger as we recall that moment we shared in my bedroom – him, me, and Benny Hill.