anointing the feet of a plastic surgeon

Every morning during my stay in hospital, I was visited by three separate teams – surgical (sharp scalpels), urology (waterworks) and plastic surgery (reconstruction).

One member of the plastic surgery team – let’s call him Kieran – seemed to take a particular interest in my case. For example, while his colleagues would grunt and leave the room when I replied ‘OK’ to the perpetual question of ‘How are we feeling today ?’, he would stay behind in order to examine the wound on my rear end.

This often meant re-positioning myself on the bed which took considerable effort and exertion on my part but he simply would not be denied and normally he would look at my bottom and purr: ‘That is excellent, that is really looking good’.

I couldn’t lie on my back and if I was lying on my left side, he would sometimes politely request that I turned over to lie on my right to give him an alternative view of things. I didn’t really know why he so keen on my case; I assumed he was using me as a case study, he was just a consummate professional or a young, very keen, aspiring doctor. Either that or he was slightly weird.

Weekends in hospitals are normally very quiet and the full doctor’s rounds don’t happen and the on-call doctor just pays you a fleeting visit. Imagine my surprise, when on a Saturday morning, Kieran appeared in my room dressed in his civvies ready for his daily dose of a detailed, close up view of my backside. On his day off. Now that’s what I call dedication.

Four weeks after surgery, the wound re-opened which was unfortunate but not uncommon (35-40% probability). Consequently, the wound now had to be washed and dressed every day by the nursing team. This only seemed to further increase Kieran’s level of interest and his daily examination which now had to check on the progress of the healing process of the wound site.

One morning, after my shower, I was slowly making my way back to my bed with the aid of crutches when I suddenly felt very hot and light headed. I had to stop and crouch down before I fell down. I managed to ring the call bell and a nurse duly arrived just in the nick of time as a wave of nausea crept up on me. I looked up and said ‘Quick – please can you pass me that bowler hat ?’. The nurse looked blankly – ‘Bowler hat -what do you mean ?’. ‘The bowler hat on the trolley – the cardboard bowler hat you’re sick into’.

Finally, the nurse passed me the receptacle and simultaneously Kieran arrived in the room dressed in his white coat and purple, plastic Dutch clogs so favoured by surgeons. He look a little perplexed to see me down on the floor and asked ‘Are you OK, Mr Brightside ?’. I promptly replied by vomiting into the cardboard bowl and said ‘No – I had a shower and felt a little faint and queasy on the way back’.

The nurse passed me a glass of water to rinse my mouth out and Kieran politely enquired ‘If I help you into bed, can I have a quick look at your bottom ? Or maybe if you could just stand up’. I looked at Kieran, I looked at the nurse, I looked into the sick bowl and, inevitably, the horrible smell triggered me off and I puked again into the bowl which was now dangerously full.

Kieran withdrew a little, back towards the door presumably to keep vomit splatter off his purple, plastic Dutch clogs and said ‘OK – I think we’ll have to skip the examination today but I’ll see you tomorrow’.

At Christmas, months after my discharge I took a photograph of my buttocks and fully healed cleft, enclosed it in a Christmas card with the greeting ‘Happy Christmas from the Cheeky Boys’ and sent it to Kieran.