I came to the hospital with what I considered a beautiful plaster put onto my arm by a charming doctor and a caring nurse in the West Country where the accident had happened. It did not have a plain, dull, uninteresting surface, but had, as a finishing and I thought very personal touch, a strip of simple bandage on top of it, running diagonally from elbow to hand, well embedded in plaster at either end. On the inside of my hand there was no plaster, just bandage which, I must admit, I had dirtied considerably in house and garden before presenting myself at the other hospital. The nurses took one look at the plaster and said with a lot of meaning “this plaster wasn’t done here, was it!” They then proceeded to repairing it in places, saw the inside of my hand and wondered “have you been sitting in Greenham?”. I do not know what these women think a housewife does all day !
Mr Rook briefly looked up from his cup of coffee when I was ushered into his room. I was feeling confident. Had not the consultant from Taunton commented on his colleague’s work in a small countryside hospital “not bad for a setting” ? Mr Rook looked at one of the accompanying x-rays, qualified the fracture as nasty, expressed a certain concern that it had happened already seventeen days ago, thought aloud that it would be quite sticky … I could not make head or tail of it … then looking up at me, pushed his sleeves back, so to speak, saying that “well, I can do it for you straight away, if you’re fit and healthy”, piercing me a little with his eyes, I imagine in order to find out whether I was up to the proposed deal. I did not know what he was talking about, but ventured at last to quote the above-mentioned consultant. Mr Rook was taken aback. The nurse rushed to investigate the contents of the large envelope I had delivered and brought to light another x-ray, taken after the setting had been done. He looked at it for a good while before pronouncing his opinion “the answer is, not bad for a setting”, finding a little fault here and there, but on the whole calling it “just about acceptable”. There was nothing he could do for me except tell me to come back in a month’s time.
I left the hospital indignant.