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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Bus stopping

Castle Hill Hospital has been, up to recently, the solitary remaining hospital/clinic/medical facility in Hull I have not had the opportunity to inspect. It is situated on the outskirts of Hull, where semi-posh estates of semi-detatched bungalows skirt greying fields full of starlings. Incongrously, in this retiree community of Sunday morning car washing and tidy driveways, gypsy horses roam the grass verges, picking at the grass and totally ignoring the hermetically sealed people carriers and bottom of range Mercedes saloons that swish by.

The hospital's principal fame is as an oncology centre, so locally it's name tends to be articulated wordlessly - people will articulate the name with their mouths without actually saying it, a product, perhaps of superstition and fear.This type of speaking, particularly among older women, was noticed years ago by a brilliant English comedian Les Dawson. The clip is pretty dated by now, so if you dont want to watch the whole thing, the type of voiceless talking I mean is at about 1 min 15 and again at the end from about 2 mins 30 seconds. What Dawson does here is rooted in observation of a characteristic way of talking, particularly here in the north of England, and its worth a quick aside to discuss where it came from. The common account is that in the Northern towns of England during the Industrial Revolution, the factories
( particularly the cotton mills where women mostly worked), were so noisy that normal conversation was impossible. As a solution, women became expert lip readers and could hold conversations without shouting. However, what this explanation does not account for is that the phenomenon is almost entirely limited to women, and usually about 'sensitive' matters.

The hospitals focus also makes its miserable if only by dint of the sheer number of cheerful touches added. There's happy posters, nice plants and lots and lots of noticeboards where you can pick up pastel coloured leaflets (usually with pictures of trees on the front and if not that then an image of some sort of counsellor, head bent at the unnatural angle only counsellors can achieve, faint encouraging smile that's as chilling as any Medusan glance) offering help and advice. Its completely depressing, and for me would be just a reminder that I was quite ill as I'd never have a picture of a tree, or a cloud, or a puppy on my wall at home.

Then you reach the plastic surgery department. This is the real deal - graphic images of the internal structures of the human body so you can identify exactly the tendon, muscle or bone you have injured, and reflect wonderingly,: why (given how weedy and thin they all look ), why you havent just snapped one before? It's a much happier place.

And that's where todays post ends. The stiches came out on the latest injury and all is healing very well. So well in fact , that given some of us might not meet for a while, I feel obliged to post the picture below, as I have been informed there will be very little scarring, and therefore very little evidence that I'm not making the whole injury thing up.

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