On Christmas Eve my thumb began to ache and throb. I drank through the pain. By the Feast of Stephen, it resembled a medieval pox. The image doesn’t really do justice to the horror of it all. Though angry and weepy, it hardly seemed serious enough for a mercy dash to A&E: the busy medics have quite enough to do over the festive period without me pitching up with a silly sore thumb. So what’s a boy with a pussy digit to do? Well, a call to our local surgery the next day provided the answer.
“The nurse can see you later today,”
said the helpful receptionist.
“Nasty infection. A few pills will soon sort that out,”
said the lovely nurse.
“Oh, and it might burst in the meantime,”
And so it did. I took the pills and drank through the pain.
Once more round the sun and it’s that time again to look back at the top of the pansy crop. For some reason, matters medical and mortality caught the imagination this year. On a happier note, stepping back in time to renew old acquaintances and bear witness to vows ’til death they do part also proved popular. So ladies and gents, I give you…
A Manifesto for Life | Back to Bodrum | Perking the Pansies | It’s All Double Dutch to Me | Victoria Wood, RIP | Scarred for Life | Postcards from Gran Canaria | See the Tree, How Big It’s Grown | A Pain in the Arse | David Bowie, Starman
The Happy Couple
Purples Pansies in Bodrum
Scarred for Life
Liam in Gran Canaria
See the Tree How Big It’s Grown
Norfolk and Norwich Hospital
A Manifesto for Life
And then there were the year’s three most popular images. Really, have you no shame?
Tom’s Posing Pouch
Biker Boys in Cromer
I recently had a lumpy growth on my ankle. It looked exactly like the ‘wisdom’ wart I’d had on my head a few years ago. Clearly I’m getting wiser as I get wider. I had the wisdom to have that ugly bugger sliced off.
So off I went again to the doc. She said,
Looks like a wart to me but best get it checked out.
I got a call from the local hospital the next day and a few days on, I was flashing my warty ankle at the dermatology top dog. He said,
Looks like a wart to me but best get it sliced off.
A week later I was flashing my warty ankle at the dermatology underling for the slicing. She said,
‘Looks like a wart to me but best get it to the lab.’
I felt rather guilty as I hobbled aboard the bus taking me home. Not to put too finer point on it, the National Health Service is facing a number of difficult challenges right now. The care I received was fast and faultless but just a bit over the top for a simple wart. But what did I know?
Two weeks later, I received a letter.
The shave excision from your right foot showed a slow growing type of skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma*.
So. I’m not so wise after all. And it turns out I need a bit more dug out. At this rate I’ll be hobbling all the way back to Bodrum.
*Basal cell carcinoma is a non-melanoma type of skin cancer that rarely spreads and is easily treatable. It’s probably the result of me prancing about barefoot and barely clothed in the Far East during the sixties. Serves me right, I suppose. Had a fabulous tan though.
You know you’re getting long in the tooth when you’re regularly called in by the quack to check for a pulse. The latest invitation dropping onto the mat was for bowel cancer screening. Apparently, there’s a national programme to screen everyone over the age of 55. My invitation came with an evening appointment and a handy little leaflet written in plain English even I can understand.
Of course, I’m ever grateful my inescapable slide towards the slab is being carefully monitored by the white coat crew. I strongly suspect, however, they’d be less conscientious if I fessed up to my persistent alcohol dependency.
I won’t go into the precise nature of the procedure I’m about to endure. Suffice it to say, it’ll be a pain in the arse.
It’s six months since Liam went under the knife to have Terry the Tumour extracted. Troublesome Terry was a lump beneath Liam’s ear and it just kept getting bigger. The doc reckoned it was benign but might turn nasty if left undisturbed. I was getting quite attached to Terry but, just like Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby, Liam screamed, “get it out of me!” So out it had to come. I was hoping Terry would come home in a jam jar for a decent burial but off he went for an autopsy, never to be seen again. Still, the nice Italian neck surgeon was ‘very reassured’ by the result (that’s quack-speak for ‘we got it all out, Grazie a Dio!’).
It’s eighteen months since the arterial bypass to re-acquaint my left leg with a pulse. That worked a treat too though I won’t be tripping the light fantastic on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ any time soon. For a cheeky parlour game on a damp night, we compare gashes. Remarkably, what once looked like Liam had been garrotted is now just a neat mark along his jaw line. And he’s rather pleased with the unexpected partial facelift. As for me, I was slashed open from moobs to pubes like John Hurt in ‘Alien’ so I naturally assumed my beach bum days were behind me. But no. These days, all the boys would see is a thin, slightly discoloured line mostly hidden by tummy fuzz. Now, where did I put those Speedos?