Wednesday, January 12, 2011

interesting prescription

Maude is sitting hunched and watchful in her seat like some kind of geriatric astronaut. The armchair, an ancient piece of furniture perfectly moulded to her shape, has all the necessaries to hand – cup and saucer, Tupperware of biscuits, box of tissues, emollients, blister packs, inhalers and eye drops, remote control and TV guide – heaped around her on a put-you-up table and breakfast stand, her puffy legs propped up on a battered old brown leather pouffe.
‘Wait a minute,’ she pants. ‘Just a minute.’
‘You’re breathing’s bad today, Maude.’
‘I’m not going to hospital.’
‘And the carer says you’re not really yourself.’
‘I’m what?’
‘Not really yourself?’
‘Well who am I then?’
‘A bit confused.’
‘I’m not going to hospital.’
I stand up again.
‘She’s pretty clear about it.’
The carer, a vigorously empathetic woman in red ski pants and a fried mass of crimped, crow-black hair, squats down in my place. She rubs Maude on the arm.
‘Come on chuck,’ she says. ‘We’re worried about you.’ But she sneaks a look back up at me. ‘Everyone but the son. What a piece of work.’
‘I’m not going to hospital,’ says Maude, levitating with outrage. ‘You can’t make me.’
‘No. We’d be arrested for kidnap,’ I tell her. ‘I’ll get the doctor over instead. Maybe she can persuade you.’
‘I’ve just got to do the paperwork.’
Maude settles back into the chair again, and after a moment begins rooting through the piles of stuff around her.
‘What are you looking for, Maude?’
‘I want my bisexuals.’
‘Your what?’
‘I’m not signing till I’ve read it through properly, and I can’t read a thing without my bisexuals.’
The carer looks at me and smiles.
‘She’s not herself,’ she says.


Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Your field runs so rich and you tell its stories so well; many thanks, I read you everyday.

jacksofbuxton said...

Very Les Dawson.At least she wasn't going in for a hystericalrectomy.

Another cracking read(Gromitt).

Spence Kennedy said...

Thanks Lynda. I'm lucky having a job that offers so much good material. (Actually, I think I'm lucky having a job...)

Hey JoB. Les Dawson was fantastic, esp. those monologues at the piano (that he played so out of tune). And the over-the-fence conversations he had with Roy Barraclough. Brilliant.

BB said...

I'm due for a new eye exam and new glasses. I hope I don't slip and call them bisexuals. Hahaha. So funny.

Gentrie said...


I've never heard of so many people being afraid of going to the hospital as in your blog.


Love your stuff! ;)

Wren said...

Oh my, Spence. You made me chuckle. Thank you!

Unknown said...

I have to agree with Maude. I too have difficulty reading without my bisexuals, after all, it's always best to get both sides of the story.

Beautiful Things - Cathy said...

'I can’t read a thing without my bisexuals'.

I actually laughed out loud at that one! Thank you, you've brightened up what has been a very rubbish day.

Alexia said...

So may bulls-eyes in this one:
"hunched and watchful in her seat like some kind of geriatric astronaut" - brilliant
"a fried mass of crimped, crow-black hair" - yucky but superb
"I can’t read a thing without my bisexuals" - best malapropism ever

I wish I could use your stuff as exemplars in my creative writing classes, Spence.

Jane Brideson said...

Loved the bisexuals - yes, something Les Dawson would have said :)
Sad though how many older people's lives contract to that island in front of the TV.

Spence Kennedy said...

BB - It's treacherous, hearing a mis-pronounciation that sticks. Even though I know it's 'prostate' I have to check myself from saying 'prostrate'(because you hear it so much from the patients)

gentrie - Thanks. I don't know if it's hospital or us they're terrified of. I try to smile and nod empathetically, but the nicer I am, the more they back away and cross themselves...

wren - Glad to put some laughs in the blog for once!

nari - I've always quite fancied a monocle

beautiful things - Sorry you were having a crap day. I wish Siren Voices was more of a laugh more often...

alexia - Thanks v much. Sometimes I think I'm over-writing, so it's great to have that positive feedback. :)

jane - It's hard to over-state how important the TV is in so many people's lives. I watch a lot of TV myself, but sometimes it's hard not to think that the TV is a druggy kind of substitute for the real thing.


Thanks for all your lovely comments! :)

The Real Housewife of Greensboro said...

ROFL!!!! That is so funny! Wow, thanks for the laugh.

Spence Kennedy said...

Like I say, it's nice to be able to write about the lighter side once in a while. Note to self: try harder to write about the lighter side once in a while! :)

Kar said...

Reminds me of Mike Harding talking about his mother being "one of the great manglers of the English language":

"'I need them bisexuals.' 'Them WHAT?' 'Bisexuals. For reading.' 'FOCALS!' 'Watch your language in my house!'"

Spence Kennedy said...

Thanks Kar. I can just imagine MH delivering that routine. I like the 'focals' detail!

Unknown said...

Brilliant, so funny. My friend at my old work place used to say strange things. One Xmas she told me she had an ectopic Christmas tree.... she meant fibre optic!!!

Spence Kennedy said...

Love it!

Mind you, sometimes I mishear things. Like for example: someone had had a nose op. I asked them what they'd been told to do for it, post-op.
'Do shit'
'Well, that's a bit vague, isn't it?'
'No - douche it'