The radiographer emerges from the X-ray suite, calling for “Sheila Ball.” Nobody answers. In fact, there is only one woman seated in the waiting area, wearing a not-very-becoming hospital gown - she happens
to be me.
“Are you Sheila?” the radiographer enquires, obviously assuming I am deaf, demented or - quite possibly given my Great Age - both. I tell
him that my surname is, indeed, Ball but I am Jacqueline, not Sheila. At which he refers once more to the notes he is holding only to realise that the name written thereon is not Sheila, but Jacqueline. “I can’t think what I was thinking of!”
he apologises as he ushers me into his very own Torture Chamber.
He extends a welcoming hand: “My name’s Paddy...” he tells me. Reader, I couldn’t
“I shall call you Geoffrey,” I told him, grandly - though with a twinkle in my eye. It is clear we are going to get along famously.
When I refer to his “Torture Chamber” I am exaggerating, of course. It does seem, however, that every time I turn up for a follow up appointment with the surgeon
who operated on my Problem Shoulder, she first sends me to have numerous X-rays which require me to assume increasingly contorted positions, some standing and seated. “You are not going to like me for this,” says Paddy / Geoffrey kindly but I reassure
him that whatever it is, it will not harm our blossoming friendship. Apparently my surgeon has made her wishes clear and “whatever she wants, she gets.” I think it is a Fine Thing to have a surgeon who strikes fear into her colleagues’ hearts
but is unfailingly kind to her patients.
After bidding Paddy / Geoffrey a fond farewell, I return to the Fracture Clinic as directed and place the yellow
card I had been given into a slot outside the consulting room. “Do not on any account leave the hospital,” the yellow card nags me. I wasn’t going to, anyway, but being bossed about by a yellow card is enough to make anyone feel a little
bolshie. Still, you know me, I am Ever Obedient so I take a seat in the waiting area. Homes Under the Hammer is playing on the TV.
When I am finally ushered
into the consulting room, I find out that all the hospital’s systems are down - I blame the heat, personally. This means, my surgeon tells me as she bounces into the consulting room, that my X-rays have not been forwarded from Paddy / Geoffrey so she
can’t check that everything is still in its correct place. I am pleased to confirm that this is not Paddy / Geoffrey’s Fault. I obey instructions to make windmill movements with my arm and am informed that there has been a 20% improvement in range
since six months ago which is extremely encouraging, especially as it hasn’t been that easy to keep up enthusiasm for my exercises so many months on.
readers may recall that I call my surgeon Tigger because she is so very, well, bouncy. Not to her face, you understand, she might not realise that I mean it as a compliment. She is the polar opposite to Mr B’s neurologist, whom we have named Mr Bow Tie,
who sits behind a desk and almost dares you to query his pronouncements. Tigger, like Mr Bow Tie, oozes self-confidence which is just fine - nobody wants to trust someone lacking in confidence with a scalpel, now do they? - but she definitely has the Human
Today, Tigger surprised even me with her Tigger-ishness. I was explaining my progress with various physiotherapy exercises (I wanted to tell her about my
Reward Chart but I thought she might laugh at me) when all of a sudden she leapt onto the bed, laid down with her knees bent and proceeded to demonstrate how to perform the exercise which I have dubbed “Beans in Bed.” I was momentarily speechless,
partly because an unfortunate image flickered in my head of Mr Bow Tie doing likewise across his posh desk but mostly because it isn’t the kind of behaviour one expects from an esteemed hospital consultant.
Let’s have more of it! I say. I only wish granddaughter Eleanor, who has just completed her first year of medical studies, could have come with me today. I’m sure she would have been inspired.
I return home on the Pulse bus, determined to put the bounce back into my exercise regime and so get back in touch with my Inner Tigger...