Poor J has had a real bummer of a week! Seven days ago she woke up a virtual cripple with debilitating lower back pain – there was no rhyme nor reason to it, it was just there!
I could certainly empathise with the pain she was in having been through years of agony and then enforced early retirement. So it was that she started on a regime of rest, muscle-relaxants, pain-killers and anti-spasmodics. It was to no avail and so Tuesday saw us in consultation with the neurosurgeon at our local hospital.
What an ebullient character he turned out to be. After the usual battery of tests and scans it was ‘hands-on’ time as he bounced around his office, prodding, poking and bending poor J’s extremities all accompanied by his booming and jovial running commentary. I should add that all this is happening in a jolly mix of pidgin-english and Turkish which is being translated for my benefit simultaneously by J (who understands perfectly) and our charming Ukrainian-born translator. Taking notes at the desk is Mr Neurosurgeon’s secretary/assistant.
Finally, it was prognosis time – no trapped nerves or arthritic bits to worry about – this was all to do with J’s sacroiliac joint and was very treatable (he said).
He prescribed this and that and finally added that she would need an injection in her ‘bum’ (his word, not mine) every day for a week, either at the hospital or at the clinic which had J a bit discombobulated at the thought and the inconvenience.
My hand shot up, ‘I’m good for that!’ I exclaimed. The chance of needling J for a week was not something I wanted to pass up. ‘As long as it’s into the muscle I can do that!’
Mr Neurosurgeon looked skeptical, ‘Just what experience have you had of giving injections?’ he asked.
‘I’ve injected the dog many times’ I claimed (which is true), ‘injecting her will be no different!’
Satisfied with my qualifications, Mr Neurosurgeon decides, for good measure, that I need instruction on exactly where to stick the needle. ‘Turn around’, he says to J ‘and drop your trousers.’ There is a sharp intake of breath from the lady secretary at the desk. The rest of us, Mr Neurosurgeon, our Ukrainian translator, me and, of course, J are quite unflustered – dropping ones pants to a doctor of either sex is pretty normal.
In the interests of accurate journalism I need to state that I’ve touched-up the lines for clarity as J keeps washing them off! You can make out three neat puncture marks in the ‘top third’ as per instructions (original and genuine model – no photoshopping)
Flourishing his ball-point pen, Mr Neurosurgeon exposes J’s right buttock (discreetly), ‘It must be divided into thirds’ he said as he drew a large cross on her arse in true Irish style, all of which reduced us to howls of laughter – even the secretary eventually joined in as she tried to hide her embarrassment behind some document folder or other.
Eventually order was restored and I was solemnly instructed to make the injection ‘here, in the top third’ as he pointed at the top right quadrant!
I declined the offer of a practice go under supervision in favour of testing out my ‘needle-point’ skills in private! Every cloud has a silver lining!
my ‘needlepoint’ kit
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü Health Clinic
ps I’m pleased to report that J seems to be on the mend and I now feel free to share my pleasure at helping her healing process – there are also four more jabs to go!