Dr Lupin Will See You Now
Lord Mancroft's diatribe in the House of Lords against the nurses who looked after him in a Bath hospital inevitably brought to mind Catherine Tate's character Bernie, the Irish, nymphomaniac nurse.
They were, said His Lordship, dirty, drunk and promiscuous and talked across him about their exploits of the night before.
For a lot of people, this kind of badinage is one of the few highlights of a stay in hospital. And, given the role of nurses in heterosexual male fantasies, less sensitive souls than Lord Mancroft hearing two nurses talking dirty over their supine form would have thought they'd died and gone to heaven.
It reminded me of an experience of my own which has echoes of Catherine Tate's character Nan Taylor. When I was about 20 I was visiting my grandmother in hospital when a very camp male nurse arrived to attend to her.
To my amazement and horror my grandmother said: "This is my grandson. He hasn't got a girlfriend..........he's never had a girlfriend."
The male nurse smiled and our eyes met across a full bedpan.
"Would you like a grape?" I said to him, beads of sweat trickling down my forehead.
He made his excuses and left.
I was so traumatised that I've avoided male nurses ever since.
My own problem with hospitals, apart from needing a cocktail of tranquillizers just to step through the door of one, is that I'm often mistaken for a doctor.
When visiting my mother, an old lady in an adjacent bed demanded that I remove her intravenous drip. Nothing I said would convince her that I wasn't the doctor who had been summoned to do this. "Of course you can do it!" she screamed at me, "it's quite a simple thing." Purely to calm her down, I began inspecting her vein in a doctorly manner before being shooed away by a nurse who then had to be dissuaded from calling Security.
When my mother was dying at home, one of her carers called in to see how we were coping. I was a little puzzled that she kept seeking my agreement with her advice about the process of dying. The reason only became clear when she left and said to me "Goodnight, Doctor."
But it was pleasing that one of the last sounds my unconscious mother heard was raucous laughter.
The third occasion this happened was even more bizarre. I had gone to a house to buy my dog, a puppy that was just a few days old. The confusion may have arisen because I had taken an old leather briefcase to carry her in. The people who answered the door said "She's upstairs" and led me into a bedroom where their ten year old daughter was lying ill in bed. We stood by the bed and nobody spoke or produced a puppy so I said "I didn't really want a bitch but I think you said she's the last of the litter?"
"Bloody hell! You're not the doctor?" said the man and rushed me downstairs to the kennel in the garden.
When Hugh Lloyd said to Tony Hancock "Are you a doctor, then?", Hancock replied "No, I never bothered". (The Blood Donor).
Well, I never bothered either but it doesn't stop people thinking I'm one.
I suppose it must be my Dr Kildare good looks, my keen intelligence and the deep love of humanity that oozes from every pore of my body.