A Pain in the Poo Factory 07
Emma changed my dressings.
Considering that in theory I was opened right up, it was unbelievable that there were just four bandages. The largest one was in the middle of my belly near my navel, and the centre of a blaze of colour, like a fiery desert sunset. This was bruising. Another three bandages were more modest. This was because of keyhole surgery.
As souvenirs of this extraordinary time, I fondly thought of them as my bullet holes. In fact, I could picture myself in 20 years time as a grizzled grandad, lifting my shirt to reveal a vast belly, and showing off the bullet holes of my life to a group of solemn, wide-eyed grandchildren.
“Now you’m lissen up ‘ere, you kids. You do what yer mam tells yer. I ne’er lissen to me mam, God bless ‘er, an’ this ere’s what happen.
“See this ‘un? Got that, did a bank in Castlemaine. An this one? Them coppers got me good n proper. TAB in Chewton.”
“What about that one Grandad,” pipes up little Jason.
“That were a big one, sonny. I were wiv me gal, Dolly. Trouble was, she already had a bloke n never tol’ me nuthin. Runty lil bastard cornered me outside the Theatre Royal. Nearly blowed me away. An’ this one ere. Tried ter spring me mate Potsy from Castlemaine Jail. Went arse over tit.
“You be good you kids, an’ do what yer mam tells yer.”
Back to the point. Or to the present, rather. Emma gently prised off the bandages stuck on after the surgery. And I must say it was a mild disappointment to see the scars. They were so small as to resemble advanced paper cuts. This malady is the most serious on-the-job health hazard facing public servants and policymakers. A paper cut can be cured by a kiss, a good strong cup of tea and a lie down. But laparoscopic surgery is in quite a different league and is generally impervious to a kiss.
As a few visitors gathered with me around my bed, it became obvious Mattie knew more about laparoscopic surgery than any of us. They make a small hole, she said, pump in some air, insert a camera, and conduct the surgery by following it on large TV screens. She’d seen it on an episode of Gray’s Anatomy, and so from then on we deferred to her knowledge on all matters pertaining to surgery.
The fact it appeared to be a television process raised an enticing question: Was it on a DVD? I could get a copy, do some tasteful editing, insert a cheerful running commentary, and whack in open captions. The whole production would be called What’s Mike Made Of? with a working subtitle, And you Thought you Really Knew Him?
Catherine, my sister, is a skilled painter. With her artist’s eye she suggested some tattoos on my stomach to take advantage of the bullet holes. A dartboard, she suggested. Or perhaps a shooter’s target. Or what about a duck sitting on a chair, to capture the idea of a sitting duck?
That was pretty much the quality of the conversation taking place. It was hilarious, irreverent, and pleasantly stupid. Considering that these wounds would be visible evidence of a profound change on my body, it was the best conversation I could have enjoyed.
Next time: Needledum and Needledee