Magazine article The Spectator

Medical Record

Magazine article The Spectator

Medical Record

Article excerpt

In Competition No. 2718 you were invited to submit an account, in verse, of a medical procedure undergone.

The inspiration for this assignment, was James Michie's characteristically witty and well-made 'On Being Fitted with a PaceMaker': 'What with sex and fags and liquor, / Silly old mulish heart, / Dear unregenerate ticker, / You needed a kick start'.

Afflictions of the nether regions featured more prominently in the entry than those of the heart. Brian Murdoch captures the mood nicely: 'Even when there is no malignity, / You can say goodbye to freedom and certainly dignity. . . ' And while accounts ranged from the eye-watering to the heartwarming it was a strong performance all round.

The bonus fiver belongs to Basil Ransome-Davies. His fellow winners get £25 each.

An NHS op means a two-year wait?

I frown. The GP says 'I've got this mate. . . '

(or words to that effect) and soon I go

for private rearrangement 'down below'.

A local anaesthetic, a quick slice,

a pair of snips -- it's over in a trice.

I glance at the result -- two small raw shish

kebabs reclining in a kidney dish --

and then the medic sews me up again.

It's cost me money, but I feel no pain.

I pay the nurse, a young brunette who winks

suggestively, but I forgive the minx.

A weight is off my mind (and not just mine --

this is a present for my valentine.)

Such is vasectomy, and I've been through it.

Forget the sniggering. There's nothing to it.

Basil Ransome-Davies

It goes like this, the doctor said,

You must lie down upon this bed

Erected in a place apart

And we will open up your heart.

I asked, rebuttoning my shirt,

But will I die and will it hurt?

He laughed, Don't even think of it.

It will not hurt one little bit.

And for the other, my oh my,

I guarantee you will not die.

A month or two, you will be fine.

I signed upon the dotted line,

He seemed a pleasant sort of bloke.

It did hurt and I didn't croak.

John Whitworth

'We go in deep where the sun don't shine,

And nip those blighters in the bud.'

His choice of words would not be mine --

But I don't work with guts and blood.

In fact, apart from ill-judged patter,

He seems all right: no obvious shakes,

A steady gaze -- the things that matter

When I must trust each move he makes.

'Turn on your side, please -- that's the trick. …

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