November 19, 2005

Tale (Wail) of a Toe

I am now attempting something I have never done before – writing a trilogy. Some of my few readers may recall two previous articles entitled, “No Room at the Inn” and “Waiting for Chiropo”, well, here is part three.

The reason I feel that I can write this final epistle on the offending toe is that, finally, after twelve weeks, it has given up the fight and is improving. At last I can look forward to a normal shower or bath. I say normal, as the last three months have taught me that those two uninteresting activities can be a new form of water torture. I therefore, for the benefit of anyone who may find themselves in a similar state, pass on instructions as to how to indulge yourself without getting the damaged digit wet.

Firstly, let us consider having a shower. If you have a shower cabinet, you are lucky. All you have to do is stand on one leg with the wounded peg held out horizontally so that the foot is outside the shower. Close the door as much as you can. To maintain balance you will probably have to lean against the wall. You could have difficulty operating the taps in this position, but it might help if you are slightly drunk whilst attempting this and it would make the whole operation much more enjoyable. If your shower is an integral part of your bath and is operated by one of those push-pull knobs, you are in a completely different ballpark. The only way possible is to stand with bandaged toe on the side of the bath and risk flooding the bathroom during the ten minutes or so that this feat will take. Did I say feet or feat? Of course the biggest problem depends on which foot it is, and whether the balancing act has to be done with your back to the taps or facing them. I dare not go into this situation any deeper. You will just have to use your imagination.

Now, what to do if you consider you are not brave enough to attempt the shower? Having a bath can be equally hazardous, even though you do not have as far to fall, drowning now becomes a distinct possibility. The only technique I have managed to devise also requires an element of physical dexterity. The procedure means that you have to get into the bath before letting any water in. You can sit in the normal bathing position and commence to fill the bath. A few inches of water will not reach your toe, and whilst this is happening you lay back and raise your foot to rest on the edge of the bath. You are now reclining in a position that makes operating the taps impossible! Ingenuity is now a prerequisite as you have to manipulate the water flow with your toes if you do not wish to boil lobster fashion or alternatively freeze. I questioned in one of my previous article what use our toes are to us. Now I know, oh that they were still prehensile as in our simian ancestor days! If you manage to get the water level just as you want it, you will be able to lay there and luxuriate to your heart’s content. Do not, however, attempt the usual washing procedures! You are locked in the position and will just have to let your body detritus soak off. You will also have to devise a method of pulling the plug and letting all the water out before trying to climb out onto Terra Firma.

Perhaps I have managed to provide an image of what I have been going through this past three months. Not a pretty sight I agree, but if I have helped any other sufferers, then my suffering has not been in vain.

Footnote!! Is the manager of the department the “Head Podiatrist”, or is this an oxymoronic statement?

Posted by jeff at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2005

Chihuly at Kew

The Citadel in Jerusalem

In January 2000, Nina and I were in Jerusalem and we visited the exhibition of glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly. We were absolutely blown away by it and very determined to see his works at Kew Gardens this year. The exhibition is totally different to the one in Jerusalem, but it is very apt in the exotic surroundings of the Princess of Wales Conservatory and the Temperate House. There are also some very effective floating sculptures on the lake in front of the Palm House. Click on this link to the albums to see the pictures.
The Sun
The piece called the sun is over 15ft high and is made up of 1,000 separate pieces of glass.

Posted by jeff at 06:38 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2005

Happy 18th to Carly


To our fantastic and beautiful Granddaughter, Carly, we wish you a very Happy & Healthy 18th Birthday. We hope that your entry into adulthood will be the begining of a succesful and rewarding career whichever direction you choose.

We know that you are going to be a credit to Mum & Dad and all the rest of the family. Have a really great day.

Posted by jeff at 10:25 AM | Comments (1)

November 04, 2005


Some time ago I wrote an article about A & E, and thought it about time I followed it up with one or two further observations on that well established source of viewing matter for television programmes. The first thought that I have is that Samuel Beckett could have written a much better play if “Waiting for Godot” had been set in a hospital. Many of the pauses could have been filled with the comments of patient patients sitting in gloomy corridor waiting areas in hospitals around the country.

It is wonderful to listen to the “Pythonesque” flavour of one-upmanship as symptoms and solutions are compared. I was recently asked what my problem was, and received nothing but looks of contempt when I explained that I had had an ingrown toenail removed. I was obviously of little further interest as the result of this skirmish with a podiatrist yielded nothing more that a mild infection. My inquisitor then turned to his neighbour on the other side to learn that he had had “electric things attached and had been subjected to a GCE”. I truly hope that this advanced his education, although I do believe that this was replaced with the GCSE some years ago.

On another occasion I was entertained by the patient who informed me that he had “died” twice whilst under anaesthetic, would probably require an amputation as well as a quadruple heart bypass. I remained silent and could not muster much sympathy when he told me he was a retired VAT officer! There was no way on earth that I could top that one. I sincerely wish I could fathom the reasoning as to why we British have to impress total strangers with stories of hyperbole with regard to our health?

I have to admit that being bombarded with such stories does relieve the boredom of the long wait. Last week a dear old lady was brought to the department in a wheelchair, accompanied by a young and attractive nurse. Well, of course I noticed this fact, as I am usually totally surrounded by members of the “Grumpy Old Men” club. This dear old harridan was obviously deaf as she announced every statement she made in stentorian tones. She at least managed to keep the old men quiet. She delivered the final ‘coupe de grace’ when the nurse asked her how long since her husband had died. In a 20 decibel voice she roared; “Not long enough ago!” “He was a total bastard”. Having endured many weeks of sitting in this waiting room being as stoic as possible, I now found that a smile was spreading across my face. Yes, I must write one of my articles to commemorate this profound utterance.

At this point I have to add that my purpose in submitting myself to this weekly ordeal is twofold. Firstly, the essential need to have my toe treated by the ever smiling Karen and secondly to glean the latest in horror about the afflictions of my co-sufferers. Considering how long Karen has been in this hospital, I can appreciate why she is always smiling. She could obviously tell me many more stories about the exaggerations of her patients like the one who referred to the swab she had taken as a “biopsy”. I wonder what stories she tells about me, or perhaps I am her Godot? One final thought – when did chiropodists metamorphose into podiatrists? Was it at the same time that opticians became optometrists?

Posted by jeff at 01:37 AM | Comments (0)