I am steering my car carefully into our drive after an enjoyable Singing for Pleasure session, when I notice there are two District Nurses waiting for me. “Good timing!” they chorus, from which I am given to
understand that they have either just arrived, or just left.
In fact they have just arrived and are pleased to see me. What I am not prepared for is that I am
about to find myself on the set of a Carry On Film. Which one? Oh, for heaven’s sake...
The District Nurses are anticipating a difficult visit on account
of the fact that Mr B will be required to lie down on his hospital bed while they administer a Doppler. Clearly Mr B’s reluctance to lie prone is well known to the Community Nursing Team and his reputation has gone ahead of him. It also occurs to me
why there are two of them: it’s the Doppler effect. We have a brief case consultation on the doorstep where we agree that if Mr B can be persuaded into a semi-recumbent position this will suffice for the purposes of their measurements. Isn’t that
a truly evocative word: recumbent. I will try to use it more often.
As it turns out Mr B is in exceptionally good form. The nurses start well by referring to him
as “Young Man” - it’s a blatant attempt at ingratiating themselves with their patient and it works a treat. This is not a criticism, by the way; I am, myself, a Master at the art of Whatever Works For Mr B.
It turns out that the nurses are the perfect double act. Adding Mr B at his best into the equation makes for a script that could well have come straight out of Carry On Nurse. So, when asked if he
has been finding it difficult to breathe, Mr B answers, meaningfully: “I couldn’t possibly comment!” When they measure his legs and find one slightly shorter than the other, followed by a short discussion about whether length is important,
Mr B gazes at them quizzically and retorts: “You may say that..” Our Carry On Pair are beset by the giggles and somehow from then on everything they say, quite innocently, can be interpreted differently. “Are you alright?” they check
with Mr B. “Only down one side,” he replies, predictably.
I think our Dynamic Duo must be used to working with each other as the banter they
exchange while attending to Mr B is little short of hilarious. Mr B keeps looking over to me and mouthing that they are a “right laugh.” It’s not your average visit by the District Nursing team.
By the time they leave us, Mr B has told them the story of his life as a Barnardo’s Boy, his glory days as a ball-boy on the courts of Wimbledon, and the excitement of 1966, the year England won the World Cup. Which
was, incidentally, the year we were married. Mr B (possibly to deflect from any unintentional faux pas over the relative importance of events in 1966) tells them I am the best thing that ever happened to him. My eyes are prickling and it’s no longer,
as before, with laughter.
Mr B gets a kiss in the cheek from one of the nurses when they leave and, as I let them out, they thank me for such a “lovely
visit.” The pleasure was, indeed, all ours.
Far away in Deepest Wales, the Middle of our (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys has emerged from an operation under
general anaesthetic to re-set and plaster his broken elbow. Brave James has been a complete hero - and we have much to thank the staff who made his Hospital Experience as pleasant as it could be in all the circumstances. His mother, the Darling Daughter in
Law, says he didn’t want to leave to go home, he was enjoying himself on the wii so much.
We all have our grumbles sometimes about the NHS but today
we saw the best of it - I’m not talking here about the extraordinary, life-saving side, but the simple, loving, caring side which helped a little boy feel reassured and had a slightly older fella chortling aloud with mirth.
Carry on, Nurses!