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a blog by Chris Barrow

Sunday afternoon

Staples out!

That’s a relief, as was the cheery face of the receptionist at Altrincham General Hospital (if you run a dental practice in the post code, go and recruit her).

CB: “Hello, I’m here to ask if you can remove some staples from my head, I’ve brought my own extractor.”

Expected Response: “I’m sorry, we cannot do that without:-

  1. my computer saying so

  2. 4 weeks notice

  3. a letter from your GP

  4. copies of at least 2 of your utility bills

  5. pressing #4

  6. speaking to Brenda at our call centre in Guatemala to book an appointment

  7. filling in some CRB forms

  8. proof of your compliance with the European Staple Removing Directive”

Actual Response: "That will be no problem, in fact its what we are here for – if you would just like to take a seat I will have someone with you in a few minutes.

(clickety click on keyboard)

Is that Christopher Barrow from 6 Bishops Close?”

CB: “well it was in 1998 when I came here for my vasectomy – but I’ve moved since then.”

Receptionist: “Well I would hope that you have – its not that painful a procedure.

What is your current address?”

CB: ”49 Avon Road”

Receptionist: ”And your telephone number?”

CB: ”0161 928 xxxx”

Receptionist: “next of kin?”

CB: ”Anneliese Bradley”

Receptionist: “relationship?”

CB: ”Well we have our moments but overall I don’t think we are doing too badly.”

As promised, no more than 10 minutes later I was in a cubicle with a local nurse and her student, the latter very keen to “have a go” for the first time.

My nurse extracted the first three staples with almost zero discomfort – a huge relief as our cleaner in the week had told me that “her friend” had staples out and it was “dead painful”.

Not quite sure which bit of her friend’s anatomy but I was starting to feel quite brave when the student took her turn.

First attempt – extractor upside-down, thus pushing staple further in.

Suppressed girlie-scream and gripped sides of chair as nurse explained the error of her ways and then slowly coaxed the offending metal sideways out of my scar. A bit ouchy.

Second staple – right side up this time but wrong angle.

An experience I can best liken to having the top of your head tied to the back of a Delorean DMC-12 and then waiting for the lights to change to green before it screams off down the road with your scalp ready to be delivered to a raiding party of Comanches.

It hurt – and I think I did actually manage to levitate above my chair for a few seconds – David Blaine watch out.

Third apprentice staple comes out with just a sting but at that stage proper nurse notices the dribble of snot running down from my nose plus my inane grin and decides to step back in – the rest of my extraction journey is peaceful.

Its probably psychosomatic but I do actually feel better this afternoon – I wonder if all that metal in my head was affected by sunspots or something.

Chirpy walk through Altrincham to buy supplies for the week ahead, browse around Waterstones, pit-stop at the juice bar, stop to sign autographs for crowd of celebrity spotters…

(OK – only kidding, actually a stall-holder at Altrincham Market asked “do I know you from somewhere?” I answered “you may have seen me on The Island with Bear Grylls?” She replied “Oh – no I didn’t watch that – I thought you were one of the other stall-holders”)

…..and now back for a breather before we take the dogs for their second walk of the day and I start the ironing.

New lease of life – no doubt I’ll collapse in a heap later – although looking forward to dressed crab and rainbow trout this evening.

Just a big shout out for my unknown hospital receptionist, whose humour and goodwill made a potential stressful experience a partial pleasure (and glad I’ve done my bit for medical training today).

Downside – Annie refuses to cut my hair so I’m going to look like a used Brillo-pad by the time I get to Dentistry Live on Saturday.

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