Dundee: City of Discovery

Gareth wearing a hospital gown, giving the thumbs up sign.
Shhh… I took a photograph with my mobile phone in a hospital today. But don’t tell anyone! Eh eh ehhhh!

The last time I visited Dundee I ended up flat on my back in a darkened room with a pretty, brunette female stranger shaving parts of my chest. I promised myself that the next time I dared to cross the Tay I’d be more cautious.

This afternoon I ventured into Tayside once again, and ended up flat on my back in a darkened room with a pretty, blonde female stranger liberally coating my torso with lubricating gel and running her hands over my body.

She also had one of those magic wands with ultrasound capabilities, which she was digging into my back, while staring into a cathode ray tube trying to work out just how poly my polycystic kidneys are.

Sadly, with those extra details my ventures into Dundee now don’t sound quite so sexy and mysterious. Today was the second part of my renal appointment; the first experience — the shaving bit — was for an ECG.

A lot of people say a lot of nasty things about Dundee, but I have to say that so far all my experiences of Dundee have been great. Except maybe that time when my then-girlfriend was in hospital with suspected meningitis. But it was alright, it turned out to be only septicemia brought about from eating raw cake mix. I kid you not.

The one thing that does worry me, however, is that amongst all the things for which Dundee is famous are a big ship (The Discovery) and two bridges: a road bridge and a rail bridge. That’s three different ways to get away from Dundee!

My experiences of Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, however, have been great. For a start, I’ve not had to wait any longer than 5 minutes from my time of arrival to being seen. Which is a good 40 minutes quicker than I was ever seen in Edinburgh.

This afternoon, no sooner had I got settled into my book than my name was called. I was ushered into a cubicle by a nurse and invited to remove all my clothes, apart from my pants, socks and shoes, don an attractive-looking gown, place all my belongings into a plastic bag, and then go and sit in reception.

As I waddled around the corner into the waiting area there was only one other person sitting there: an old lady sipping from a disposable plastic cup.

“Awww, no!!” I exclaimed. “We’ve both turned up wearing the same dress.”

The old lady looked up and smiled. “It looks like you got the modern one, yours is much shorter, mine goes down to my feet,” she said.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “Although, I am also 6′ 4″ !!”

The old lady returned to drinking her water for a moment. “They don’t tell you that you need to have a full bladder for this scan,” she said suddenly.

“Really?!” I said, beginning to wonder if I’d read my instructions properly.

“They could have told me when I arrived,” she complained. “They could have told me when I had to get into this gown. I’ve been here for over twenty minutes, drinking water.”

And as she said that she pointed towards the cooled water dispenser on the other side of the waiting area. Sitting beside the water dispenser were seven empty 5-litre bottles, and the bottle currently on the cooler was half-full.

“My word!” I exclaimed. “Have you had to drink all of that?!”

“Yeah,” she said, and began sipping again.

Although to be fair, on reflection, I think she might just have meant the contents of her cup. I can’t imagine it would be ethical for any member of the nursing profession to force an octogenarian of either gender to drink any more than 35-litres of water at one sitting.

And it was at that point that I was invited into a darkened room by a pretty blonde lady. It was okay, though: she brought another pretty blonde girl to watch.

I’m going back again in October. I don’t need to — they’ve not made an appointment or anything — I just want to discover what else I can experience that’s being paid for by the NHS. Dundee: City of Discovery indeed!

Yeah, I know!

Great news! My friend Andy Evans and his family are coming to visit for a week at the end of August. In preparation for the event, and because I’ve never met their son they sent me a photograph of him.

It looks like the photograph was taken at Legoland, Windsor, and look what I spotted in the background.

Photo of a scene at Legoland, showing a London taxi and Lou and Andy from Little Britain.

It’s a Lego® Lou and Andy (from Little Britain).

“But you said that you didn’t like being made out of Lego, because the dimples on the blocks make it sore on your bottom when you sit down.”

“Yeah, I know!”