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Skidmore's Island: Sick Note

Columnist Ian Skidmore writes from a hospital bed.

A bear however hard he tries
Grows tubby without exercise
He takes what exercise he can
By falling off the ottoman.

I do know how the bear feels. After a month of committed falling over onto various surfaces, I decided to consult the doctor. The NHS has a new miracle cure. By the time you get to see the doctor you're cured and when I went I felt fine.

The doctor did not share my view. He said, 'You're dying again.' Apparently I was down to a blood count of six when it should have been 12. The practice phone was hot as he tried to contact a gastric surgeon and I was rushed into our new, as yet unpaid for, hospital in Peterborough for an immediate blood transfusion. That was two days ago and I'm still waiting.

Although the hospital seems reluctant to give me blood they are very enthusiastic about taking it. I have had half-hourly blood tests since I arrived. Now it's taking rather longer to find blood than it did to find the Constock Lode. I can't help wondering why they bother prospecting for more blood. Empty veins suggest I'm already dead. But they appear to be enjoying themselves so much it seems a pity to spoil their search.

I've suggested the nurse should grow her two side teeth and wear a cloak, that they might hire a bat on favourable terms or, alternatively, pour some blood in before they take any more out. I await their decision.

As always, the legions of nurses fluttering around my bed have been the soul of kindness and concern. The male nurse is currently on leave from Afghanistan where's he's a Queen Alexandra Nurse with the T.A. He has been twice blown up and once shot. Under the circumstances I am reluctant to complain. Food first class, doctors a delight.

The new hospital was built under the PFI scheme so we'll own it about the time the world ends. It is a monstrous waste of money. Though luxurious in the extreme patients have their own alcoves or are in multi-purpose wards for four where each patient can be curtained off and each bed has a free TV the waste of space stultifying.

Coming in, you enter a vast atrium in which you could rebuild classical Rome. It is lined with bookshops and cafes of every description. The nurses tell me the super-wide corridors are endless between departments and they feel as though they're walking 35 miles a day.

It is designed as a leisure centre rather than a place of caring for the sick.

Yours sincerely,

Dracula's Little Helper and go easy on the garlic when reading this.

P.S. No flowers. Blood sausages appreciated.


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