Saturday, 21 November 2015

Meeting the Great Consultant (2013) by Paul Durcan

After having fasted from midnight, I get a taxi at noon, Driven by an easygoing, affable Wexfordman from the 
Hook –
He confesses that he finds modern hospitals ‘scary’ –
To the Hospital – Level 5, Day Care –
For what the Great Consultant’s secretary by phone 
Has told me will be ‘a procedure’.
As with anything to do with Health, it’s a Stations of
the Cross
The purpose of which is to cause the patient maximum
humiliation and stress.
Reception: a mean-looking, middle-aged lady with
dyed blonde hair;
Canine, snub-nosed, dismissive.
Onward to the ward: two young female nurses –
One human and warm and gay and bright and helpful; 
The other brittle, curt, bent on making a nuisance of 
herself –
Flings open cubicle curtains, instructs me
To get into a trolley bed.
Having undressed and wrapped up in a surgical
gown –
The usual, humdrum, pre-crucifixion scenario –
I sit there in bed for an hour and a half – waiting 
Before being wheeled at speed down corridors 
To the day-procedure operating theatre.
In position, I can see the Great Consultant –
His back. He does not deign to greet me
But in his blue scrubs stands with his back to me 
At a counter, mugging up his notes,
Or, as he would pompously snigger, ‘consulting your
Finally, he spins around on his heel,
Vaunting a glimpse of boyhood’s homoerotic hips, 
A young middle-aged, grey-haired, baby-faced gang
Who theatrically thinks of himself as the nurses 
Think of him: as a God of the Hospital
(They refer to him never by name – only as HE). 
Standing over me he gloats and glowers,
Informing me of the type of anaesthetic I’ll be injected
I ask him a question, but he ignores me – after all, 
He is a consultant and consultants do not consult, 
Certainly not with a patient.
And so I am injected and a masked nurse
Clamps my mouth, and the Great Consultant 
Shoves a sewer rod down my throat
And fifteen minutes later I am trolleyed back to the
No, this tight-bottomed, pint-sized, Dublin suburbanite 
With his Dublin 4 Great Medical Family pedigree –
His Rugby or his GAA field cred –
All-Ireland Championship medals or Irish caps –
Will not be doing any consulting with me today.
A boorish, contemptuous, conceited bully boy.
Three hours later, as I am departing Reception,
He passes me by, pretending not to recognise me. 
But I put a spanner in his swagger and greet him and
compel him
To say ‘Ah, Mr Durcan!’ and I say to him:
‘Do you know what? You are a perfunctory little bugger, 
But you have just done me for 600 euro – enjoy!’

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