X marks the spot

I had to go to hospital the other day for an X-ray. No, nothing serious before you all start sending me large bouquets of flowers and wishing me a speedy recovery, just a routine visit to check out a long standing problem that I finally got round to seeing the doctor about last week.  The appointment was one of those walk-in ones where you can go any time over a two week period and I decided to get it out of the way early one morning.

‘I hope you’re not in a rush, you’re going be to hanging around there for hours,’ announced Pud. I packed a copy of War and Peace, a large apple and a bottle of water into my bag just in case and off I went, looking forward to a morning away from bickering kids and Mr Tell-it-like-it-is, if nothing else.

As it happened, Pud couldn’t have been more wrong (ha). Almost as soon as I’d arrived, my details had been registered, I’d been whisked away to a waiting area and now found myself being told to take my jeans off and ‘pop on’ a rather fetching hospital gown, which I duly did.  I then had to sit back down in the waiting area amongst fully clothed people who couldn’t hide their admiration of my pasty winter legs poking out from beneath my gown, my dark socks and black ankle boots adding the final touches to this sartorially elegant look.

It was at this point that a man who’d been called before me emerged from one of the changing cubicles resplendent in his gown, and headed towards the waiting area. As he came towards me though I couldn’t help but notice that he’d got his gown on the other way round to me.  Whereas I’d attempted a cheeky little wraparound number by putting my arms through the front like you do with gowns at the hair salon and then wrapped it over at the back before tying at the front, he’d plumped for putting his on like a coat and tying it casually just below his waist (I couldn’t tell what he’d done with the neck ties, I didn’t like to stare).

We eyed each other warily, both of us knowing what the other was thinking and eventually I felt compelled to say,

‘Well, one of us has got it wrong, haha!’ (clearly not me though)

This broke the ice and we had a chat about how surreal it felt to be sitting in our gowns with a red plastic basket containing our normal clothes perched on our laps, while other, more appropriately dressed people pretended to be engrossed in magazines and books so that they weren’t subjected to this sight in front of them.

Thankfully, before too long my name was called out and I shuffled off, holding onto the back of my gown for dear life. As I said goodbye to my new friend, I apologised in case my arse was hanging out.  He didn’t look too traumatised so I can only assume that said arse cheeks were still intact.  The X-ray itself was done within a matter of minutes and when the nurse asked if I had any questions, the only thing I asked was whether my pants were on show before venturing out of the X-ray room (they weren’t).

I can’t fault the service I received that morning, I was in and out within twenty minutes (I didn’t even have time to so much as open my book) and all the staff were really friendly and put me at ease. The gown issue however, has left me slightly violated and I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few members of the public who were there that that day are still suffering from post-traumatic stress even as I type.

I relayed this gown tale to my Mum after the event. Coincidentally, she’d also been for an X-ray at the same hospital a couple of weeks previously (we’re not serial hospital visitors honest!)

‘Oh,’ she said, ‘I wasn’t quite sure either so I put mine on over my shoulders like a coat’…

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