You people are sick. And when I say 'you people' I actually mean Dorte and Bookwitch who specifically requested Too Much Information. Blame them if, after reading this post you want to poke your eyes out with a hot fork. For those who are of a nervous disposition, look away now. OK, I warned you, it's going to get horrible, so here's another chance to look away. Still here? What's wrong with you?
The title of this post comes from the lyrics of the Cramps song What's Inside A Girl. And, following my colonoscopy, I can now tell you. Warning - this post has no crime fiction related elements at all.
I should have known that things weren't going to go well when I spent the first 23 minutes at the hospital trying to find the endoscopy unit. It was like a Kafka-esque nightmare, trying to find my way through the labyrinth of hospital corridors. I did the sensible thing - once I got to 'Outpatients - Day Surgery' I asked someone where to go.
She led me to a corridor lined with doors. "Go to the end of this corridor and turn right" she said. So I did. And yes, indeed, I then saw signs that said "Endoscopy Unit, this way". So I followed them. And then they stopped. In the middle of the Ear Nose and Throat Unit. I stopped again and asked at the X-Ray Unit.
"Oh, you'll have to go back down that corridor, the way you came."
"But I didnt come that way."
"Well, that's the way you need to go, back that way, back the way you came." And with that, she closed the sliding glass screen.
So I did. And ended up out the back of the hospital by the rubbish bins. A smoking nurse was standing outside. And, when I say a 'smoking nurse' I don't mean 'a nurse was standing outside smoking a cigarette. She wasn't smoking a cigarette, smoke was coming from her back. Really*.
She helpfully accompanied me down another corridor and then pointed down yet another "I can't come with you all the way," she said - rather ominously, I thought, "but just go to the end and turn right and you can't miss it."
As I walked down the corridor things began to look a little familiar. 'Outpatients - Day Surgery' said a sign pointing straight on. Yes, I was back where I had started. Remember the person right at the start who told me to turn right? Well, she obviously had her shoes on the wrong feet - if she'd only told me to turn left, I could have saved myself 22 minutes.
So, I eventually arrived at my destination. 'Welcome to Hell' said a sign in big red letters**.
I gave my name. "Nurse will be with you soon," said, presumably, Receptionist. I sat down, taking out my book. Tony Black's latest. OK, so maybe a book called LONG TIME DEAD is not really the best thing to read in a hospital waiting room, but it's brilliant and kept me amused until 'Nurse' arrived and the time came for me to go off and throw my dignity, and my clothes aside.
"Doctor will be with you soon. Take your clothes off and put this gown on, hen," said Nurse. "Opening to the back.". I did as instructed and she looked at me dubiously and handed me another gown, twin of the one I was wearing. "Better put this one on over the top. Backwards. This is a mixed ward, we don't want you getting anyone excited, do we?" She seemed to think this was hilarious. I, on the other hand, did not. But when your dignity is stuffed in a locker along with your clothes, and you're covered by two faded hospital gowns and an all-over blush, there's not much you can say, is there?
And then it was time for me to go and see 'Doctor'. "This will just take about 10 minutes," said Doctor. One of my gowns was removed (I think you can guess which one) and I had to lie on a bed.
Before I go any further, let me tell you that the next time a man says to me "Can you just shuffle your bottom towards me a little bit more," I am going to run, screaming, from the room, hopefully having shoved an anal probe up his nostril first, while uttering the words "This might be a wee bit sore."
The next twenty five minutes (yes, 5 or 10 minutes my violated ar*e) were a wee bit sore. Nurse tried to distract me "Have you been on your holidays yet?" I was going to ask her if she was also going to give my hair a wee trim and blowdry while I was lying there but I was stopped by the vomiting. That was me, by the way, not Nurse.
"That was a nasty wee spasm," said Doctor. "Would you like us to stop?"
"Oh yes, please," I wailed, "in the name of everything holy, please please stop, I beg of you. If you have any feelings, stop."
"We'll get you back in another time. I think that would be best."
"Another time? You want me to come back and go through this again another time? How many miles of intestines have I got, exactly?
"Well, I'm nearly on the final stretch," said Doctor, quite cheerfully, as though my bowel was the course of the Monaco Grand Prix and he was overtaking a Ferrari in the confines of my lower intestine.
"Just bloody get on with it. I'm never coming back."
"Here, you can watch it onscreen." He turned the screen towards me, as though he was treating me to a night out at the cinema. "Look at that, that looks really good, doesn't it?"
Really good? Was the man mad? It looked like one of those underwater documentaries where they go deep to the bottom of the sea where no-one has ever been before and find some weird prehistoric sea creature that is both frightening and ugly. "Well, actually Doctor, it looks like something from 'The Creature From the Black Lagoon'. Doctor looked very hurt. He struck me as a man far too fond of his job.
We all shut up after that, for which I was extremely grateful. Engaging in small talk with random strangers when one of them is rummaging around in your nether regions is never a good thing if you ask me. After what seemed like another three hours the ordeal was over. "We'll get you a nice cup of tea now," said Nurse, patting my hand. Since I'd had nothing more than water for the previous 24 hours, this was surprisingly welcome, although not as welcome as "We'll get you a nice juicy steak and a plateful of chips" would have been.
With my tea came a certificate. A certificate that proclaimed 'You have had your bowel examined today.' Yay for me. I'm going to frame it and hang it by my school swimming certificate. The one that says 'Donna swam one width - in shallow water' - those last three words are shorthand for 'we know you cheated and put your feet on the bottom of the pool but we just can't prove it.'
I got a taxi home. I was not in the mood for talking. My taxi-driver, however, was. "I was in the out-patients myself last week, having my ears syringed. What were you in for, hen?" I think he spent the rest of the journey quietly wishing he'd not bothered having his ears cleaned out. Still, at least my response*** shut him up.
*It actually turned out to be steam but when you're in a Kafka-esque labyrinthine nightmare, smoke is so much more exciting.
** Obviously, not really, but it bloody should have done.
**** I'd tell you, but my Dad reads this blog.
Tata for now. Back to crime fiction on Monday.