Tag Archives: Toilet

Not, The Nine O’clock News

connery

If there’s a couple things that have become apparent as I’ve grown older, its that,

A. You really DO slow down (you may not think you do, but you DO)

and

B. Things don’t work like they used to.

Also, I must admit, I don’t like too much information pertaining to having any sort of operation or a procedure. The less the better for me if I’m being honest. (See Fainting Goats and What The Mop Lady Saw)

To save you the details, I had to go for a camera investigation to clear up some concerns. I had been worried that I wouldn’t be able to swallow a foot-or-so of optic equipment, and had been stressing, not so quietly over the prospect.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to.

Instead, I was to have about 15 foot of firemans hose inserted up my bum instead.

Oh.

What a relief that was to hear.

I had gone through my usual routine of being told about what was involved in the procedure, by sticking my thumbs in my ears and going “lalalalala” and “Being in a happy place”. I think having gone through the examination by my GP, who (never doubt) was always professional, oozed calm and reassurance and who, incidentally, had the hands of an Irish navvy.

So initially, upon visiting him with my problem and having him say,

“Ahh, yes Mr. Walsh. Just drop your trousers and pop on the bed. Yes that’s right – just tuck those knees to your chest. Heeeeeeeere we go…”

When he said he wanted to examine me, my eyes were drawn to these meaty appendages he called “hands” that were displayed before him on his desk, and wishing I hadn’t been so bashful about visiting the other Doctor’s in the practice first. Who were both women, and had the deft little hands of a small monkeys by comparison. I can assure you, it was with some very slow hesitant steps I got onto the bed in the required position and tried to take a deep breath.

I lay there as he slid his hands into his gloves (I actually think he had a glove on each finger) and heard a raspberry-like-quelch of applied lubricant. I seem to recall him whistling cheerfully, but that have been nerves.

It was with an audible grunt from him, and, I believe, a whimper and clawing scrabble at the wall from me, he inserted what felt like a bunch of bananas and shattered all my illusions of the calm reassurance he had moments before been projecting.

“Ok Mr. Walsh? Just try and relax, deeeep slow breathes.”

Relax??? He was lucky my buttock contraction didn’t break his fingers. (I was counting the depth of insertion by knuckle joints) (And breathe? I was panting like a dog)

It was with a self satisfied,

“Therrrrrrre we go. All done!”

That he snapped off his numerous gloves and dropped them in the bin as he went back behind his desk to begin tapping his notes into his computer. Humming “Hi Ho” I think.

I deflated like a balloon. I had till this point been unaware I had levitated 3 inches or so off the bed until I dropped back on it as he evacuated the scene so to speak. I got dressed gingerly and sat back down before him as he went on. I’m sure anyone who has been abducted by aliens and roundly probed can sympathize.

“Yes, I think I see the problem but I’d like you to be investigated further to be on the safe side. Yes? Ok. I’ll get you an appointment sorted out. Ok? Good man. Off you go Mr. Walsh. Well Done!!”

It was like being mentally slapped on the back by a senior officer in the army. I paused momentarily expecting a medal until I realized my appointment had finished and I had been dismissed.

I won’t bore you with the following weeks. The visits to following consultants, I’m happy to say, was no where near traumatic as he had incredibly small hands compared to Gargantuan, my local GP. Either that Or my local doctor had left me looking like a bucket back there..

Finally the consultant I had been sent to see decided to send me for a camera to investigate further. I had been dreading this moment, the possibility of having an intrusive investigation. I was given a sache of powders to help clear the way for the camera, with instructions on drinking a litre or so every 2 hours the day prior to the investigation. No food just drink.

Now I must admit, I mixed the first concoction and thought “Ha. Nothing to it.” And began glugging away at my(attempted) vanilla flavor drink. It was soon obvious that even with the most dogged determination, drinking down jug after jug wouldn’t be as easy as I thought.

It gets to the point that you finish one jug and think, “Well, that was easy,” until you realize that its already time for the next one to be mixed and started.

By the third jug I felt a slight roll in my stomach, a bubbling so-to-speak. Please don’t think there was any stomach ache. There wasn’t. There wasn’t any urgency or pain. I just thought,

“Aye aye. I’ll just pop to the toilet to be safe.”

I’ve thought long and hard about this. I’m not going into detail. All I can say is, picture this.

James Bond with a hydro jet pack on his back.

Minus the tuxedo. And bow tie.

And jet pack.

waterjetpack3

What followed I had no control over what-so-ever. I found I was hovering about 5 inches above the toilet seat, held up by the sheer force of what was going on below me. I was literally holding onto the toilet seat to stop myself drifting off. Initially I have to say I was impressed. In a child-like way I took enormous pleasure over the water canon going off below me. It was like having my own personal built in Karcher power hose going off at maximum, and being unable to flick the “OFF” switch.

If I hadn’t have held on, I’d have hydro-planed around the bathroom.

I was sat there going ‘Whooooooooa!”

This went on all day. If I’d known it was going to be like this and last as long as it did I’d have worn a crash helmet. In the end I daren’t move too far away from the toilet. And considering I had no control I daren’t fart either. I was just glad to finish the concoction I was forced to drink and see some light at the end of the tunnel. No pun intended.

The following day dawned of the Endoscopy, with me feeling empty and just wanting to get the whole thing over and done with. I was nervous to say the least when I finally arrived at the hospital. It was a matter of procedure to be given my gowns, sign forms, get changed and sit in a tiny waiting room off the main corridor with a several other desparados waiting their turn for what ever camera investigation they were having done. And trust me. I thought I had it bad..

There was one old chap who was already changed and waiting to go down for his investigation. Now, bear in mind, everybody else is sat in this tiny room, with a changing room adjacent to it. So as you walk in to get changed you pass through this crowd of strangers sat in what is really, a nighty and underpants. They’re all waiting their turn to go to another room where, someone they don’t know, is going to make comforting sounds then ram something up their bum.

If they’re lucky..

What was brought to my attention as I sat there was that not everyone was there for the same investigation. And believe me, I was starting to appreciate that it was just going up my bum and not anywhere else.

This old chap who, I discovered was 92, (he looked early 70’s) was extremely sprightly and had acres of optimism. Not so much cup half full but overflowing..

The rest of us were sat nervously fiddling about, sweating with clammy hands waiting our turn. It took this old boy to break the ice in that Old man shout that is supposed to be a quiet question.

“What you here for son?” he asked me. (I was 43 at this point)

“Ah. Umm. You know. Camera up the bum.”

“Ha! Nothin to it lad. Be done before you know it. Won’t even feel it!”

Yeah right. Easy for you to say Slack Harry.

“What about you? What you here for?” I asked him.

“Me? Having the works!”

“The works?”

“Yep! You Know? One up one down.”

“One down?”

“Down your willy lad! You Know? Nothing to it! Ha!”

Fuck me. My legs were crossing as he spoke.

“Good luck with that then mate.”

“Aye, no problem son. Playing bowls this afternoon. Need to get a push on.”

OMFG.

I’d have been sat in an Ice bath.

Fortunately he was called up next.

“Here we go!” and off he did.

I sat there for the next 30 minutes making small talk with a couple of blokes waiting their turn, but I soon ran out of things to say. If It’d been my mum she’d have probably knew their sisters Aunty who lived next door to Mrs. Smith in 1976. Or some diluted connection or other.

And then she would have talked them to death before her turn. I just sat wishing I had her knack right now.

The silence was finally broken by the return of Captain indestructible who walked briskly back into the waiting room nighty flapping behind him like a cloak, en-route to the changing room.

If he’d had braces on he’d have had his thumbs tucked in them and chest stuck out no doubt.

“All done! No worries lads! Next up!”

The only thing he didn’t do was click his fucking heels.

Mercifully the nurse appeared over his shoulder.

“Mr. Walsh? Yes? Your next this way please..”

I was led along the corridor to a small room. Inside were 3 nurses sat around the bed surrounded by a variety of equipment. And with what looked about 30 foot of coiled hose that housed the optic camera. All I could think was,

Nurses. Female. Looking up my bum. Omg. My Mum probably knows 2 out of the 3…fuck.

Straight away bright smiles,

“Hello Michael. Just pop on the bed and face that way please.”

“Jesus. here we go again.” I thought, scanning the 3 sets of hands on view.

They were certainly brisk and business-like.

“I’m just going to apply some lubrication Michael, then we’ll fill you with some air to make the process easier.”

Which she did. Which, wasn’t so bad. I could have done the same thing at Tesco’s petrol station and gone prepared. She popped in this tube and I was literally inflated like a tyre.

“Ah. Therrrre we go. All ready? I’ll just begin easing in the camera. Oh! Here you go Michael.! You can watch on the monitor!”

Bear in mind this to someone who really, really doesn’t like information about what’s coming. Now, in fact, I had it on a screen 12 inches from my face. In colour too. Do I really want to look up my own bum? I don’t think so. But here I was. In wide-screen. So with a,

“Hows that Michael?’

and me mumbling,

“Oh yes, that’s just dandeeeeeeeeeeeeee! ohmyfuckinggoodgod! Myeyesmeyes!! Ithinkicantastegunmetal!! (It seemed to go that far up)

You don’t need to know the intimate details. All I’ll relay was that they were very, Very Impressed with how cleaned out I was. It was with a slight whinney and scrabbling from me, that she inserted and gave me a running commentary, as professional as Sir David Attenborough.

“Oooh you’ve done such a good job – as clean as a Flute! Well done Michael!!”

I think it was supposed to be music to my ears… but I spent the time gnawing at my knuckles, with a brow beaded with sweat and my knees tucked into my stomach waiting for it to end. Finally she began to withdraw the miles of tubing only at the last moment to think she saw something and push back in. I must admit she must have caught something, because it really got my attention.

WooooEEEEEEEE!”

“No! Looks fine. All done!”

I Sounded like a steam whistle not a flute as she whipped the optic out. Knuckle gnawing, lip chewing, I was left lying there panting, feeling sickly and dizzy, thinking,

“My God! I sooooo need to fart!”

“You ok Michael? You’ve gone a funny colour..”

“Yes fine, fine – I’m really sorry but can I go to the toilet? Please??”

“Yes,” – Bright smile – “Common feeling don’t worry, First door on the left by the reception desk..”

I was already on my way down the corridor. I pushed into the toilet and locked the door. It was a single tiny room right behind the reception desk. The explosion of trapped air that followed was, embarrassing as I was constantly aware of being so close to the reception desk, but I couldn’t help it. I was more concerned with my vision coming and going as I felt more and more faint. What restored me somewhat was the thought that If I fainted in this tiny enclosure, I was more than likely going to head-butt the door. And knowing my luck go straight through it and land face-down-arse-up in the corridor. Which end would they resuscitate??

Well he’s breathing ok at that end..”

So I managed to hold it together and stumble off to the changing rooms past my new found friends.

My trip home was loud. And continuous. I have to say It wasn’t a painful experience just one that dented my pride. If theres one thing that I can safely say I learnt from the experience its this.

Check your GP’s hands before making him aware of this kind of problem.

And just hope, you get your results before your mum does…

Down The Pan

Nails

Years ago growing up, I remember my dad always seemed to be working. Either on his normal day to day joinery or on some private work. A foreigner as they were known. And at time’s the two overlapped into each other.

On some occasion’s he would work during the day,  go straight to the private job, work through the night on that, then go back to his every day job the following morning. Work that day and have the night off. The next day though it would be the same routine, work day, night, day, then home, collapse and sleep. this would go on until complete.

Everyone makes sacrifices for their children but I always felt my Dad went head and shoulders beyond anybody else. He was just always working on something, and if he wasn’t working he was gardening, or running his football team, or taking us out somewhere. Busy, busy, busy.

But he always seemed to have time to do it all.

Bless him.

One of those private job’s was refurbishing the seating area’s in a night club. Rip out the existing, then manufacture new, ready to be re-upholstered. It was a friend of my dad’s, Joe, an on-off work mate who had picked up the foreigner and asked my dad to help him on it.

So off they go from their day job, into the club early evening, work the night. Come morning, back to day job, then sleep. This went on for roughly a week until the job was complete. It was at this point that my dad found out who they were doing the job for. It was pay day and he was waiting with Joe for the gaffer to arrive to pay them. What my dad couldn’t understand was why Joe was hopping around on pins, obviously anxious. Finally this guy walks in, a big time gangster well known in the city, with his herd of heavies in tow. I remember my dad telling me about this and he said,

“My heart sank when I realized who it was, and I’ve looked at Joe thinking, “Thank you very much.” Because I knew, no way would I have chanced working for this guy because of his
reputation

So the boss arrives, barely nods an aknowledgement, then walks round the club inspecting the work with Joe and my dad in tow, with the heavies trailing along like a line of tankers, muttering –

“Very nice. Verrrry nice job lad’s.”

Finally he reaches the end of his inspection, turns to  my dad and Joe, and just say’s,

Now get your tools together and fuck off.”

And that was it. No money, no negotiation, two big bruisers looming over your shoulder guiding you out the of the building. And next thing you know your stood looking at a closing door and a weeks work behind it.

And you’d be surprised how often it could happen.

Only thing you can do is take it on the chin. There isn’t an alternative with these people.

And then you have the good jobs. Some jobs you land on just seem too good to be true. Great craic, great money and worth getting up everyday.

One was a hotel in the center of Manchester.

Now, I have an Uncle who worked with my father at various times over the years, whenever my Dad had enough work available he would give Roy a shout if he needed the job.

And this was one of those jobs. Roy is one of the funniest and sharpest people I know, and has had me laughing more times than I can mention. Or I’ve stood back in admiration that he’s seen a chance or opportunity before anyone else and quietly taken advantage.

But my God he’s also quite clumsy at times.

Now Roy wasn’t a time served joiner, but handy, and  you could carry someone in the job if their capabable and the work isn’t very demanding. Give them things to do that you could keep an eye on, nothing too taxing that requires a lot of thought. Basically nurse them along and help keep them in work.

Part of this particular job required a rip out through out the building. Then it was a thorough refit, bring the building back up to top spec.

Roy turned up to his first day on the job with his basic tool kit – hammer, saw, crow bar and a  pouch to go round the waist to hold nails in, and carry his vintage hammer at his side.

Only, this pouch connected to the belt at the waist, but the pouch pocket was nearer Roy’s knee than his waist. And the hammer hung even lower. So whenever he wanted a nail from it, or his hammer, he was more or less at right angles in an effort to reach either.

“Jesus, change that bloody pouch will you?” My Dad would nag him.

“Nahhh, it’s fine. Quality leather this. Had it a long time this. Been in the family years.”

So Roy persevered with the absurdly low hung pouch. Constantly tripping over the damn thing and leaning over lob sided to reach his cache of nails. Its just a shame  Roy didn’t have one Orangutan length arm to get maximum efficient use out of this pouch. As it was, he was unfortunately blessed with two arms of normal proportions

So when he had his first accident it was no surprise.

He was put up in the roof space, crow-barring remaining timbers, still fixed after the initial rip out. Now this wasn’t a normal roof, it was almost vertical  with large windows interspersed at intervals which had all been broken out and removed. So you could get quite close to the edge of the roof inside, without having to crawl in to do so. And Roy was working right in a corner, crouched down, barring out residue timbers.

Finally, he came across a piece of timber fairly secure right in the corner and was forced to put some serious effort in to remove it. Wrenching away at it, it finally came free and his drooping nail pouch, entangled in his legs caused to sit down with a bump.

Only this bump landed him on a sliver of glass stuck up vertically, left over from the window rip out.

With a noise only a dog could hear, he leapt back off it and found he was spraying blood.

Incidentally, You soon find out who your friends are when your arse is bleeding and you need someone to take a really good look and tell you how bad it is.

Anyway, it was stitches, fruit and soup for a few weeks after that one.

Then my Dad took him on a foreigner he was doing which was converting a roof on a bungalow and builing a dormer into it. It was a tight scheduled job which he was doing on a weekend. So organization and the weather was the key. With the client away to avoid the dust and noise, it was a particularly nice weekend when they began stripping the tiles from the roof. The trick to these jobs is to expose the existing roof, build the new frame work and get it temporarily sealed in the same day if possible. That way even if it rains no moisture can come through the ceiling and damage anything below.

So with Roy helping it was a job that although tight, was easily achievable.

It was a hot day when they started and turned into an even hotter weekend. But opposite the house was a pub with some nice benches outside, and they promised themselves a pint when they finished the following day.

So it was on with the job.

Roof stripped of tiles and felt to expose the area that’s being extended. Cut, manufacture and fix the new roof structure in place, then get the felt over it and temporarily batten it down and fix and seal the new window till the following morning.

The next day dawned bright sunshine again that gradually heated up as the day progressed. During that days work people were sat outside the pub nursing pints, watching my Dad and Roy slaving on the roof. Today would be a case of setting some new joists in place and trimming out the ceiling then break through an access hole to receive a flight of stairs. Then deck out the floor as a finished area.

Then a satisfying couple of pints.

Now people don’t appreciate the sheer volume of thick, choking dust that accumulates in a loft area. Not just that, but the old way of plastering a ceiling consisted of spreading, then trowelling smooth plaster directly onto latt’s. Whilst above the ceiling it was just a mass of excess plaster. Then years of dust accumulates on top.

So my Dad put Roy inside the roof space, passing him in the joists that were to be stacked ready to lay out. But as Roy is manhandling the joists into position, he accidentally steps off the existing ceiling joists hes straddling, and falls through the ceiling with a splintering crash of latt’s snapping, and cascade of plaster hitting the floor below.

Roy is left suspended between the rafters, legs dangling below.

You end up frantically rushing to help, in a mad way, trying to reach the person who isn’t actually going any further because their wedged in position and, maybe (pleasegod), Just maybe, there wont be any more damage…

But by this point what damage there’s going to be, has occurred, and its more a case of getting the person topside so you can both climb down below and inspect how bad it is.

So he managed to drag Roy back up which was an effort because of the pouch which he’s having to drag back through the hole doing more damage as it comes. And when he finally managed to get him back up on his feet,

“That fuckin pouch! Get a new pouch Monday for fucks sake!”

Followed by,

“Where’s your hammer??”

“What?”

Where’s. Your. Fucking. Hammer.”

They both turned to look through the hole into the wreckage below.

There, in the middle of all the black, thick dust, broken latt’s and pieces of plaster, lying nestled in what remained of the toilet pan, was Roy’s vintage hammer.

When Roy had fallen, his lower half had gone through the ceiling, and as it did, the hammer had pushed up and out through its loop and, dropped the remaining distance, straight through the toilet pan.

Smashing it to smithereens.

“Oh. Sheeeeit.”

Then it was a mad rush.

The ceiling needed repairing, the toilet needed replacing and re-plumbing in. But most urgently the scene of destruction needed cleaning up. And then the roof had to get back on schedule for when the  residents returned.

As you can imagine Roy was mortified but these things happen and will do so again.

My Dad left Roy cleaning up while he rushed off to buy a new toilet and get hold of a plumber to come and fit it. It was now a race to get everything looking normal for when the client returned.

So when my Dad did get back, it was with a growing sense of doom he found Roy waiting for him hopping from foot to foot.

“Sorry Mick.”

Awwwwwwww shit. What now?”

What Roy had done in his rush to clean up was begin a mad hoovering session. Unfortunately the elderly hoover couldn’t take the strain and promptly blew up, showering what thick black dust it had managed to suck up, over the rest of the bathroom.

So then it was back out to buy a hoover.

All in all it was an exhausting weekend. Just getting the job back to where it should have been as well as repairing the damage done to the ceiling and bathroom.

What ever profit margin my Dad originally had, went on a hoover, a toilet and plastering a ceiling.

The client returned to find a repaired ceiling and new hoover, but otherwise no damage. And my dad just had to grit his teeth and smile when the client came to him gushing,

“We certainly know how hard you worked. Because the landlord and locals in the pub opposite told us! You didn’t stop, grafting all weekend. You’ve done a fantastic job!!”

“Only, he said after you worked so hard he was amazed you never went in for a pint when you finished…”

“Oh, and you left your nail pouch…”