27 March 2008
At least three members of the tennis club picked up the bug in January and just can’t shake off the cough that came with it.
Antibiotics don’t kick it, and I am tired of being obliged to retire to the spare bedroom when the cough gets going in the dead of night.
I reminded Mrs Monk that I have a right to the “Master” bedroom complete with Sky TV Plus, since I am the Master of the Household, and that anyone else who is otherwise unhappy or unwelcome by the Master of the Master Bedroom, should retreat to the spare bedroom, otherwise known as the Mistress Bedroom, ....if only.
My friends at the club seem resigned and content to put up with their similar condition, but Mrs Monk is a hypochondriacal wife who relies heavily upon Internet quackery for medical diagnosis, and is a constant source of worrying speculation about what might be wrong with me.
No disease is discounted and terminal diseases get notable mentions at every opportunity.
This is not a new phenomenon.
I recall going to movies years ago to see the Oscar winning, Chariots Of Fire. I needed to pee just before the movie started. As we settled in our seats to enjoy the movie, I mentioned to Mrs Monk that my pee was a funny colour, a kind of dark brown.
As the opening credits started and the Oscar winning Vangelis music soared Mrs Monk said just one word that remained with me for every second of the movie that had just began to appear.
“Cancer” she said.
I survived that misdiagnosis, but I cannot think of that movie without thinking about the big C.
And Mrs Monk is still at it, insisting on making appointments for me, to check out this and that, and prompting my tennis pal GP, who has dutifully sent me for every test imaginable, to make sure I am in tip top shape for a man of my age. I am thus subjected to a number medical examinations to make sure I am equipped for the rigours of watching Sky Plus movies in bed, but for the unfortunate banishment to the mistress room, without a mistress.
I have asked Mrs Monk to keep her hypochondria to herself.
I have had blood pressure monitors and Cat scans and Myocardial scans and Echocardiograms and of course the X rays for the cough, all in the last 3 months.
A Myocardial scan happened last Thursday and that involves a radioactive injection in the vein, so pictures may be taken of what happens to the flow of blood through my veins. Imagine how Mrs Monk prepared me for this nuclear test. I was fully alerted and alarmed by the trauma that I was about to endure.
I was met by two lady ologists. I was relieved that Mrs Monk was forbidden to accompany me.
The first lady sat me down and prepared me for what would happen. I changed the subject and talked about her wacky shoes.
She refocused my attention and warned me that I would feel nausea.
I asked the other lady if she was from New Zealand.
She said that I would be put through vigorous exercises and would feel a tightness in the chest.
The first lady took my right arm and placed it on a pillow, squeezed and prodded for awhile and said she could not find a vein, and might have to “dig deep”.
I asked her if she was preparing me for pain.
She said, “Yes,” and lent forward, inadvertently placing her left breast in the palm of my right hand. Her manoeuvre sent me to another place, and I began to wonder about the wonder of the National Health Service.
I had a brief Dennis Potter moment. I asked her if she needed to use my tennis arm.
We switched arms and my left hand subsequently became acquainted with her right breast.
Mrs Monk did not prepare me for this and I wondered about my blood pressure.
Eventually the digging deep turned out to be a painless prick of no consequence, and I thought of David Cameron.
I was then told about the exercise machine that would monitor my performance.
“OK, so now you both want me to show you how fit I am”, I said.
“Yes,” said one lady, “please take off your shirt.”
I breathed in and held on to my stomach, to show off my six pack to its best advantage, but after ten minutes of peddling I let my belly roll like a jelly mould.