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Saturday, 31 October 2009

Why the correct intonation is vital

So, there I am, sitting on the edge of my hospital bed, waiting for someone to write me a letter discharging me home, and a junior doctor appears. He says, sounding a bit bored, 'It was your left ovary we were meant to remove, wasn't it?'

He puts no particular intonation into this, so it's all up to my imagination.

Does he mean this ...? 'We're hoping it was your ovary we took, but it could have been your heart. One of the lights in the theatre is a bit dodgy. How are you feeling?'
Or this ...? 'We've just found something lying on the shelf that looks very much like a right ovary. We're hoping not. Shoving them back in isn't half so easy as chopping them out. That's Sewing Skills Advanced Level 3 and I've only got Level 1.'
Or this ...? 'In actual fact, we took every single one of your inner organs away except for the left ovary. Your sudden and miraculous weight loss is not because you resisted the shortbread. It will also explain your respiratory, neurological and digestive difficulties.'
As it turned out, he just wanted to confirm which one they'd taken so that he could write the correct thing on the discharge note.
Phew. I got all ova-anxious.

19 comments:

  1. And that is why they have no intonation at all, in case it was, indeed, your heart that they took. No sense in giving themselves away.

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  2. That does sound like a pretty vague question! Kind of like an accountant asking, "You don't want to cheat on your taxes this year do you?" ... if he didn't wink at the end, I wouldn't be sure how to answer.

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  3. You're so right, Laura. That must be the reason. 'We-have-taken-your-heart-and-soon-you-will-die-but-we-don't-care-and-neither-should-you-you-had-to-go-sometime.'

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  4. No, no hint of a wink, Lesley. He didn't have enough energy for winks, I feel, bored out of his skull as he was by having to treat people who had the temerity to be ill.

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  5. good grief; what that means, in actual fact, is that he has no idea what actually happened and that he's there merely as the errand boy who scribbles your discharge notes.
    Did they hand you a little bottle with a wriggly bit in it? If not, go back and ask for it. It might come in handy.

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  6. A word about junior doctors. Having been in the hospital a number of times in the last few years and, having a son who is an experienced doctor, I must say this about junior doctors...they're scared as hell! Nurses boss them around; older doctors ignore them; patients barely tolerate them and they are always tired and unsure of themselves. So, you must cut them some slack. After all, they are some mother's child, or maybe, a motherless child...or maybe their brother was an only child. I do hope you are home and doing well. My best. Count Sneaky

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  7. I stand rebuked, Count. Next time I meet one I will give him a big hug.

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  8. You can never be too sure. My mother started having her left thumb operated on when it was the right one which needed the operation - yikes!

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  9. Very scary. Not something you could have a quick look at to check. And did he mean your left or the surgeon's left?
    At least they didn't remove your sense of humour.
    Love your blog - I'm following!

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  10. Arrggh, Maya! I wish you'd finished the story, ie, how did they realise?

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  11. WIAR - this is why I never became a surgeon. I have to do the 'which hand do I hold my knife in?' thing to remind myself which is right. This also explains why I don't drive any more - doing the knife thing at important junctions doesn't go down well with the police. Welcome to Miss-land.

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  12. Wow that is just what you need when recovering!

    Kate x

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  13. I hope everything went well and you have a quck recovery. It can be frustrating when communication is unclear. Like a note taped to the control panel of a nuclear power plant that says "You can not put too much water into the reactor"

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  14. Kate - yes, it made me feel so much better!

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  15. Yes, Chaka, that seems like an ambiguity to be avoided.

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  16. I'm sure you remembered to mark the appropriate one with a big black marker...

    ...You did, right?

    (verifications word: "redid" - what the hell?)

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  17. Mark, I knew I shouldn't have had that arrow tattoo done. How confused they must have been.

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  18. ahh, at last, I'm allowed in! Haven't been able to comment for a couple of weeks, the arrow has hovered over teh POST A COMMENT without allowing me to land, so to speak.
    Anyway, a great run of blogs (love the roses down below) and, aaargh, rather bloody casual that ovary stuff. Am crossing my legs HARD!! Be careful who you let near what's left!

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  19. Thanks, Milla, and I'm glad you were allowed access again. Not sure what the problem was there ... I will indeed be careful who I let near what's left, unless they're going to do liposuction in which case anyone can have a shot.

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