This happened the week before last, during this admission. I've changed the doctors' names as I've written it for my book, but I thought I'd share it with you as it is all the same. It may undergo some editing before it makes it into the book, but the facts will remain the same. I hope you enjoy it.
Not Just The Wrong Pair of Trousers
Dr Samson arrived with his registrar, Peter, and the junior doctor, Yas. The trio arranged themselves around my bed and observed the wheezing form that lay before them.
‘Yas,’ began Dr Samson, ‘seeing as you’re the only one with a stethoscope, can I borrow it, please?’
Yas looked at her seniors and stuck her pen between her teeth while she juggled my bulging volume of notes into her left hand. With her right, she unravelled her stethoscope from where it hung draped around her neck, disentangling it from the plastic apron on which it kept getting snagged. Removing the pen from her mouth, and handing her stethoscope to Dr Samson, she tutted and said, ‘Really, a respiratory doctor coming to work without his stethoscope is like coming to work without your trousers!’
I spluttered a wheezy laugh and, closing my eyes, pinched the bridge of my nose with my thumb and forefinger. With a slow shake of my head I said, ‘You know, I really shouldn’t have that image in my head,’ which triggered giggles in Yas and feet-shuffling from Peter.
Dr Samson abandoned the beginnings of an excuse, instead saying, ‘I suppose that as I’m borrowing your stethoscope I can’t really tell you off,’ but any authority he may have had with this was lost by the increasing redness to his face.
Unable to shake from my mind the image of my asthma consultant arriving in my hospital room in his underwear, I could only try to stifle resurging giggles while he listened to my lungs through my back. But with Yas standing at the end of the bed, it was all too easy to catch her eye and for the ridiculousness of the image to become infectious.
The disastrous consultation eventually came to an end, but with me and Yas caught up in school-girl giggles, Peter not knowing what to do with himself, and Dr Samson slightly flustered and extremely red-faced.
Dr Samson and Yas returned on another ward round visit two days later, the joke having walked right back in the room with them on their arrival. No reference was made to it throughout the consultation until the end, when Dr Samson and Yas were removing their gloves and aprons. I couldn’t resist but acknowledge Dr Samson’s remembrance of his stethoscope that morning by passing the comment, ‘I see you came to work with your trousers this morning.’
The colour shot up Dr Samson’s face and Yas spat out the laughter that had been bubbling within. Dr Samson shuffled out into the corridor with as much dignity as he could muster, whilst Yas left the room bent double and with the two of us giving glances of collusion.