Wednesday, December 19, 2018


Today's posts are quite TV-oriented, for someone who rarely watches TV, and never watches terrestrial!

So after my week in the jungle, I developed an infection and was readmitted to the Royal, but this time, it was post-pathology so I was put in the non-oncology gynaecology ward for Glasgow's east end. My 'catchment' hospital (when I don't have suspected cancer) is the Queen Elizabeth, but given my consultant works out of the oncology unit, I was sent back there.

My first day was spent alone, but Marcel came through from Edinburgh to visit so that was nice.

Later that afternoon two young girls were admitted. One said she was 23, the other 19. They were typical salt-of-the-earth east end girls. 23 had three kids who were 1, 2 and 3. 19 had two kids who were 1 and 3. Both were in with suspected ectopic pregnancies.

23 looked shocked and asked the nurses not to mention to any of her visitors why she was in, 19 hadn't a clue what it meant and said she wasn't that bothered as long as she was still allowed out for a fag break!

After my fifth birthday, the only places I have lived (in Scotland at least) are Newton Mearns and Dowanhill (Glasgow's West end). Broad Scots was something my grandparents spoke, and to a lesser extent my parents, but it was entirely alive and going as strong as ever over there, just 9 miles from my sheltered existence. I definitely live in a strange and alien bubble down here. I've lived abroad, so know you need to tone down your Scottish accent for foreigners, these girls had obviously never experienced anything of the sort and spoke to a succession of foreign consultants without the slightest attempt to make themselves easier to understand. As someone who works with Scots from time to time, this was a fascinating opportunity to watch Scotland in action.

Visiting hour came. There was a strict two to a bed policy... or so it said on signs up everywhere. No one was coming in for me that night so again I was left people-watching. 19 had her boyfriend and three friends around her. 23 had her sister and a child. At that point a noticeably drunk man staggered in, stinking of booze and fags, he stood in front of my bed eyeing up both 23 and 19, who were similar medium-build brunettes. He sidled over to 23 and said 'hello, hen'. 19, raging, eyed him back and shouted at the top of her voice 'that's no me, ya daft cunt!' and he then staggered to her instead. There were hissed words in hushed tones for the next ten minutes then the drunk man left again. 'Thon fucker didnae even know his own wean!' she exclaimed. It transpired that he'd not seen his daughter in six years and had heard she was unwell so had dropped by to visit and accidentally sat down at the other girl's bed as he didn't recognize her! She ranted and raved for the next few hours about him being useless, other than the fact that he'd been so embarrassed he'd left her his pack of cigarettes.

We had some fun chats - when 23 told me she'd done all her Xmas shopping already in her local pub, where a guy sells stuff like Xboxes for £20. Hmmmm 樂 And 19 told me she only ever got pregnant when she got high on cannabis, so she was going to stick to booze in the future!

Every morning, both were taken to be scanned as they needed the foetuses to grow to find where they were hiding. On day three, 19's was found and she was operated on and ended up in a fist fight with a nurse when she said she wasn't allowed out for a fag break until she could actually stand up after the anaesthetic. (She apologized later once she'd calmed down!) On day four, 23's was found too, but it wasn't ectopic after all! The pregnancy was completely normal so she was allowed home. As she was leaving, I wished her well. She replied that she was going home to tell her partner she was pregnant. She looked vaguely concerned. I asked if she thought he was going to find it daunting to have a fourth kid in four years and she laughed and said, 'it's no that that's worrying me, it's telling him it isnae his, it's his best pal's!' GULP!

It was a very entertaining week; they were lovely girls, in their own way, so refreshingly honest and transparent, just not very similar to the ones I come across in my usual day-to-day. I guessed I learned there's a bigger world out there, than I remembered.

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