How I Lost My Vodka

March 31, 2013

The Coming Out & The Punchbag

March 31, 2013

Operation Deepthroat

March 31, 2013
Let's face it, I hadn't had the anaesthetic, I hadn't cried when I got my injection, and I hadn't pissed myself. I'd already done pretty well with this girl today.

I’d been having some problems with the strength of my voice, it was croaky and would cut out sometimes. I’d tried all kinds of things to resolve it, but the only thing that seemed to do it was singing Belinda Carlisle on SingStar. I could sing karaoke just fine, but this was not a solution that would help me at work. “Hey Alan, how’s the throat, just wanted to let you know Kevin has gone up to Scotland to sort out that problem you told him about.”

“Ooooooh Kevin’s on the case in Perth…”

See. Most people I work with think my voice has always been kind of husky. I think they associate it with being Scottish, or smoking. But friends who haven’t seen me for a while, maybe from back home, are always surprised that I’ve somehow lost my smooth accent. I usually get out of it by telling them that it was living in Birmingham that fucked me up.

It has come in handy too though. Recently I had to call up a doctor (who I labelled as fucking useless in my previous post) to cancel an appointment he insisted I go to in Windsor. Now, he had a habit of spending sub-3-minute consultations with me, and Windsor was a 4-hour roundtrip away. But apparently I’d get charged £50 for not showing up for this appointment I didn’t ask for so I had to call and invent an excuse. As it was a medical appointment I figured I’d have to be creative and it wouldn’t be easy to get out of it, or they’d try and reschedule, so I concocted a plan for every eventuality. I called up “Hi, um I have an appointment on Thursday would it be possible to cancel please. I ….”

“Of course no problem Alan, I can hear you’re pretty unwell. OK that’s cancelled for you. Bye.”

Hours of preparation for nothing.

So a few years ago my colleagues pressured me to see a doctor about this weak voice thing – they had to pressure me because I am basically a child who will not go and see a doctor about anything unless I absolutely have to. I went to see him, he was fascinated by my case – particularly the fact I was fine when singing 80s classics. He wanted a second opinion, so he checked if the “physician” was around. I didn’t know you still got physicians, I thought it was an old word for doctor. Well it might as well have been because going downstairs to see the physician was like going through a fucking time warp.

I entered this huge old style drawing room, lined with old books and ancient furniture – a far cry from the regular doctor’s normal looking office. I don’t think there was anything less than a hundred years old in the room. And I’m including the physician in that statement. He proceeded to conduct a number of tests on me, the same tests as the doctor, but with older equipment – including, I believe, a stethoscope made from elephant tusks. The physician was equally baffled, there appeared to be nothing wrong with me. Apart from the astronomical blood pressure, but I think that’s hereditary.

They sent me to Harley Street, home of the doctors from Sherlock Holmes’ day. The consultant gastroenterologist’s first initials were DJ. I immediately found it hard to take him seriously. He sent me for blood tests and to book an appointment at a private  hospital up the road, for a gastroscopy – big tube with camera down my throat, and a CT scan. First I had to pop by the hospital to make the arrangements, armed with a couple of forms he’d given me. Finishing off a cigarette I wasn’t supposed to be smoking, I had a look at the carbon copy forms he’d asked me to hand in at the hospital.

Mostly jargon, except the “notes” box, which began “Fascinating story….” What the fuck? I wasn’t telling him an anecdote. It wasn’t stand-up. I didn’t pop by Harley Street to do an impromptu revue. Fascinating story yeah right, fix my fucking vocal problem DJ, or I’ll tell you the fascinating story about the consultant getting whacked about the head with the ornamental wooden totem I stole from the physician’s office…

Gastroscopy day arrived. Booking the appointment went without a hitch, and all my needs were met, thanks to the outrageously camp nurse taking a shine to me with my husky voice.

I got changed into my hospital garb and sat with a medical henchman filling out forms. There was one about consent for the anaesthetic and two options. Full anaesthetic, recommended, or just a little bit of spray on the back of my throat. Let me see which one do I want for a huge metal tentacle being roughly inserted through my mouth all the way down to the bottom of my stomach…

Full anaesthetic it is. “OK sir,” the man said, “You won’t be able to drink alcohol for 24 hours, and you’ll need someone to pick you up to take you home.”

Not drink for 24 hours? It was fucking Friday. We have a bar at work. Me and my team go to that bar, every Friday at 5.30? I was expected at that bar, at 5.30, that Friday – today! – to tell everyone about my anecdotes from the hospital. I’m supposed to tell them I can’t make it because of some anaesthetic? I’m supposed to just go home? On a Friday? No no no no no, “Actually sorry no I can’t have the full anaesthetic, because … I don’t have anyone who could pick me up. I don’t know … anyone … in London. All my friends are … abroad right now. Ibiza, Burning Man Festival, Bastille Day, Eurovision, all kinds of things abroad.”

“Isn’t there anyone at all you could ask?”

“No. Oh hang on I could ask…. oh, no he died yesterday. Sorry.”

“What about a colleague from work?”

“Work! Ha, interesting idea, hadn’t thought of that. Um … no, sadly not becaaaaause … I work in… the… Republic of Ireland. And work is quite far from an airport. And the airport is closed anyway … because … of the Troubles.”

OK OK I’m hamming this up a little bit I don’t remember what I told him, but I didn’t tell him I had an appointment with colleagues in a bar down the road, that’s for sure. I took the basic anaesthetic. I was taking one for the team. I figured, if I can drink a Flatliner shot (tequila, Sambuca, Tabasco sauce) I can “drink” a robotic tentacle with a camera on it.

I went through with Dr DJ and got lain down on a bed, on my side, surrounded by scary machines. I got my anaesthetic. At around this point, that evening of bar anecdotes did not sound quite so worth it, as I saw the monstrous tube that was going inside my… insides. It was like he’d ripped it straight out of my shower. This was going to be like giving a blowjob to the internet cable that connects Europe and North America.

He started sticking it in and I went apeshit screaming and shaking. “UNG UNG UNG UUNG-N-UUUNNNNNNG!!!” What I was trying to say was “THIS IS NOT NATURAL!!!” This procedure was the opposite of everything that should happen to a person in real life. I could feel this thing in places where I didn’t think I could feel anything. I thought it was going to come back out of my arse, or worse!

The nurse reassured me; she must have seen this a million times. Of course she has, she works in a place where they stick fucking tentacles down people’s throats!

It would have been like this if the "physician" had done it...

It would have been like this if the “physician” had done it…

Once it was in I slightly calmed down and the nurse, who bore a striking physical resemblance to Oddjob, relaxed her grip on me. I tried to think of other things. I tried to think of the girl from work I fancied; she wouldn’t want to see me lying there shaking like a coward, with my mouth wide open and this massive thing shoved down my throat. No, she’d want me to be brave and take it like a man. This approach was not helping.

I refocused on the doctor who was right in front of me as I lay on my side. I heard him say “Open. Close.” to the nurse. Hmmm, whatever. “Open… and close.” I couldn’t look at him anymore I kept getting glimpses of the tube. “Open. And close.” Oh what was he gibbering on about. I tried to focus on something else, and saw a giant screen behind him. “Open. Close”. Hang on. The screen behind him had insides on it, guts and the like. And when he said open and close these little razor jaws were coming in from the sides and munching away…

They were broadcasting the camera on a TV behind the doctor. Who the fuck is that for? I was the only one who could see it! I gagged even more than I did when the tube first went in. Oddjob held me down again, luckily DJ was finishing his work having used his robocock to eat away half my stomach.

I came out broken, half of me wishing I’d had the proper anaesthetic and the other half expecting them to come round offering to sell me the DVD of what just happened.

I had some hours to wait before my CT scan, which would be in the same building, and I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything except water. Fortunately enough I was not hungry. I amused myself for much of this time by making myself visually acquainted with a dainty Kiwi nurse who was extremely attractive and frequently popped by the desk near where I was sitting to check with the woman about this and that.

I’d done so much gawping at her when she’d come by to chat to the reception woman that I felt a little awkward when one time she turned around and said “Mr McCann, can you come this way please?” Turned out this flighty little thing was doing my CT scan. We made smalltalk as I lay on my back for the second sexual subservience metaphor of the day. “Oh you were the guy who had the gastroscopy earlier. I hope you had the full anaesthetic!”

“Full anaesthetic? Pschf. No way.” I realised that much as I wanted to impress this girl with my casual disregard for such wimpy things as anaesthesia, there was literally nothing else I could say to her to emphasise this point that didn’t raise the question of why I would be blasé about having such a tool rammed down my throat. And I was making good progress with this girl and didn’t want to ruin it by appearing to be a skilled homosexual.

“Now, I just need to warn you about three things before we give you this injection – it’ll run through your bloodstream so that the scanner can see properly.” Fine. “Firstly, when I inject you, you’ll taste a strange metallic taste in your mouth.” Right, OK, not sure what that even tastes like. Yes OK I’ve just had a metallic object in my mouth for half the morning, but I wasn’t concentrating on tasting it and even if I was I’d have been unable to distinguish between the taste of the metal and the taste of raw fear. “Secondly you’ll feel a warm tingly sensation.” OK, so something like the sensation I felt when you bent over a few minutes ago and I kind of saw your pants…”Lastly, and most importantly of all…” Never feed me after midnight? No, sorry carry on, “Lastly, and most importantly of all, you might feel like you’re wetting yourself. But don’t worry about it, it’s just the injection.” Right. Weird but let’s go.

She injected me. Few moments of nothing. I didn’t cry when I got the injection so I was feeling quite good about myself right now. Then suddenly, ah, that’s what metal tastes like. I felt like I’d gargled a mouthful of change. Eyeeew, but interesting, she was right. Few seconds later, tingly feeling. Hmmm, yeah just like she described. A moment after that.

PSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

OK she told me about this but no warning can prepare you for that feeling. When she said “don’t worry about it, it’s just the injection” did she mean the injection makes me piss myself and it’s perfectly normal. I tried to remain calm and mumbled “yeah just like you said….” as I discreetly slid my left hand over towards my groin. I was dry, it was OK. It was just the injection making me feel that way. Inside though I felt soaked, and I had drunk a LOT of water.

Relieved (though thankfully not literally) I lay back and enjoyed the sci-fi of the rest of the scan.

When I came back out, suddenly my other doctor, DJ, appeared from behind some kind of screen, bizarrely dressed like a stage magician, “Oh I was on my way home, and thought I’d pop in to watch.” On your way home, who do you live with David fucking Copperfield?

He told me everything looked OK and that he’d give me my full results at my next appointment, and then disappeared in a puff of smoke.

I smalltalked with the Kiwi regarding where I could get a tonne of food around these parts as I hadn’t been able to eat anything for a day, and she suggested a Pizza Express round the corner. I was half-tempted to invite her with me, but in case she said no I wanted to end on a high. Let’s face it, I hadn’t had the anaesthetic, I hadn’t cried when I got my injection, and I hadn’t pissed myself. I’d already done pretty well with this girl today.

I went to the Pizza Express, sat down on my own, ordered the biggest – literally the biggest – pizza that they do, and a massive glass of rose, and enjoyed my reward, topping it off with some nice cognac as I paid the bill (classy). I then ran off back to work just in time for the bar to open and to share my tales with my colleagues.

But not before getting some good practice in for my “PSSSHHHHHHHH” sound effect…

 

Oh, PS – never did get to the bottom of what was wrong with me, everything came back fine.

Don't just sit there, say something, the silence is freaking me out!