Warts and Wisdom

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.

A Pain in the Arse

A Pain in the Arse

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.

Cancer Screening

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.

Scarred for Life

Scarred for Life

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!’).

Rosemary's Baby

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?

God Save the Queen

NNUHRegular readers might remember that, last year, I had keyhole surgery when a double stent was inserted into my abdomen to deal with a narrowing of the arteries supplying blood to my legs. It was affecting my mobility and a major pain in the arse (or to be precise, the calves). Although the operation itself was successful, one of the stents failed almost immediately. This happens in about 10% of cases (trust me to be in a minority yet again). After a period of reflection and torture on a treadmill three times a week, I chose to advance to Plan B – an aorta bi-femoral graft, a more traditional way of bypassing the logjam. I went under the surgeon’s knife at the end of July.

BypassAs I was wheeled to the anaesthetist, I hummed ‘God Save the Queen.’ It seemed appropriate and helped keep my pecker up and my blood pressure down. The bypass was a major op but relatively routine and given my age and general good health, everything went like clockwork. Please give a hand to Darren Morrow, a vascular surgeon with talented hands. He stitched me up good and proper (actually he super glued me up good and proper). I was discharged a few days ago and have been recovering at home ever since. I’m sore but otherwise in fine fettle, largely thanks to the liquid morphine (highly recommended). Those familiar with Blackadder will know that every queen has a nursie and I have mine. Liam is famed throughout Christendom for his bedside manner and grape peeling. I’m a lucky boy. But at times like this I wish I had a proper job – just so I could get three months off work with full pay. I was rarely ill during my time as a municipal bean-counter. Maybe I could apply for a back-dated payment?

A Healthy Intermission

Normal broadcasts will be resumed shortly. In the meantime, here are a few random shots of the micro-loft.