Thursday, 12 November 2009

Alcohol in hospitals - please!

Today my son had an orchiectomy. This isn’t really very funny but I’m going to try really hard to make it funny because while you may think this is really distasteful, I find that dark humour for dark days really works for me.

When I found out about what this operation might entail, everybody assured me that this didn’t mean that my son wouldn’t be able to father children. This stunned me. In my mind I was wincing at the very idea of them even scratching his utterly perfect, creamy, caramel skin. Jesus Christ people, I have only just got my head around being a mother never mind a bloody grandmother. Anyway……

Today I was reminded why they really should have alcohol in hospitals. I mean, they have a fucking Burger King in Southampton hospital for god’s sake, what kind of mixed message is that? Plus, you should see the amount of doctors and nurses smoking cigarettes around the corner from the hospital. Yeah, I saw you.

Talking of which:

“Is there a smoker in your house?” says the anaesthetist, his pen poised over the clipboard. The joker in me is tempted to say “Weed or tobacco? Tick both anyway.”

Does the occasional something to smoke, after one too many, count?

Not that I asked him that. I just replied “No”, albeit defensively.

Anyway, back to the point. They really should have alcohol readily available in hospitals, preferably next to the watercooler. It’s not like I’m an alcoholic or anything but they didn’t use copious amounts of brandy for no reason, when amputating legs in the old days, with nothing else for pain relief but a bit between your teeth. They used it because it works. There’s at least one occasion I can think of where I have been so drunk you could have probably amputated my leg and I wouldn’t have noticed until the following morning when I realise that the reason I can’t get my other stiletto on is because I actually have a foot missing.

So, I was pondering on this today whilst pacing up and down with at least three other mothers waiting for my son to come out of surgery. It was agonising.

“God!” I kept saying to myself, “if only I could have a double brandy I might be able to get this shit into perspective!”

I thought that all the other mothers looked like they could do with a drink too – even the Muslim lady in the headscarf looked like she wouldn’t have said no if the nurses has brought round a tray of little NHS shot glasses .

Then I remembered this.

How many sanitiser pumps would I have to stick my head under before I got the desired effect, I wondered, scanning the room and doing a quick count?

The other time I really, and when I say REALLY, I mean REALLY, needed a drink was straight after childbirth. My parents arrived at 8.30 am I was sat in an armchair holding something I had just expelled, totally freaked out, feeling like I had just been rescued from a car crash. My father starts bandying a video camera around and I’m shouting “Not my face! Just video the baby. I don’t want any images of me looking sweaty and red-faced and I've got bad hair!!”

A few days later my father called me and told me that he had been watching the footage from the hospital. He also said that in the background while my mother is holding the baby I can be heard saying (with vigour)

“You know what I need right now? A really good……..hard………..(pause for comic effect, will she say cock? fuck?)


Thankfully, I have my drink now. It's a large glass of luscious red. Bushman deals with a crisis by cooking and eating copious amounts of food and then sleeping. I cope by drinking and these days blogging.

All is peaceful in my household. Things could be a damn sight worse and we're doing just fine. Lucky, fabulous and imperfect.


  1. Guess what - They have booze in private hospitals - need I say more!!

    Oh and I hope your little man is OK

  2. after getting your text.. i went out and bought 6 bottles for the weekend. i can get more....

    hang in there matey xx

  3. very sorry about your son. I hope he's okay. And that you're okay. It is not funny at all, even if your writing is fabulous.

  4. I don't think it takes many hand sanitiser pumps to get drunk. I know someone was ejected from our A&E recently for drinking it.

    Hope your son's ok.

  5. I totally agree, a little dispenser next to the gel with free vodka. Mixer of your choice available from the vending machines.
    Hope your little boy's op went well.

  6. Surgery on children is a horrible thing to inflict on a parent. I hope he's okay now.