Aside: From the Hospital

To the dungeons of the MRI again where I encounter, to my delight, the same old nurse who took care of me last time. She is a warm, kind and down-to-earth person. This time I need a dye-job to show up all my inner glories in technicolour. Despite her grandmotherliness and long years of service, her needlework is less than stellar. It’s a worry when you see someone with a needle squinting at your veins. Are those bifocals or trifocals she’s wearing, I wondered? How can it be the veins seem to her shy? She gives a tourniquet tie Schwarzenegger would admire and a good many sharp slaps to the desired area before the s-s-s-stab. I flinch.

‘Are you OK?’ she manages in English.

‘Oh, yes, yes,’ I politely fib in Japanese.

It is a pain, however, soon forgotten. On we chatter. I am fully at ease.

Just before I go in to meet the Machine, the nurse declares me (as Representative of all her patients) her ‘idol’ – as close to a declaration of love and/or high praise as two strangers can get. (i.e. ‘You are as good and as deserving of my care and attention as my favourite pop star!’) This was a most amusing, strangely affectionate remark, and to my startled ears quite, quite original. (Have YOU ever been called somebody’s idol?).

She is a dear, sweet, old thing whose company and service I was very grateful to have enjoyed.

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