This was very much real life. Last year, I had to have an urgent, major operation for bowel cancer (obviously - I am still here.....so, so far so good.
But....when I turned up for all of the necessary pre - op procedures (culminating with an important appointment with the Senior Consultant Anaethestetist) there was a problem. My letter (which I had with me) clearly stated an arrival time of 10.40am. I arrived at 10.25am (early, or so I thought). The receptionist frostily informed me that I should have arrived at 9.00am. I tried not to lose my temper and merely showed her the letter sent out out by her own department.
Cue - a rushed panic. It turned out to be a pretty stressful (with moments of 'dark humour') 90 minutes for me. The operation was urgent. But, it could not go ahead if I did not see the Consultant. I could not see the Consultant unless I had undergone all of the other tests!! The result? They had to fit into 90 minutes what should have taken 180 minutes!!
I was literally rushed from BP to filling in forms to blood tests to ECGs etc., etc all done as properly, but as fast as possible. The nurses etc all very harrassed and pushing me along as though I was a schoolboy. There was a big problem right at the start. They had run out of hospital gowns. They were desperate to get on with the various tests / examinations. After 10 minutes, they still had none. Thinking back to my school days...I volunteered to simply strip down to my briefs (much to my wife's amusement). They set so much store by patient modesty nowadays. They were bewildered. Permission from the Clinical Head of Department had to be sought and I had to sign some kind of disclaimer. I just wanted to get on with it. The stress -(mostly extreme time pressure) - for everyone was palpable.
Now...the amusing part. Right at the end the nurse announced that she had to take some swabs. First, nose / throat. With slight hesitation, she then said that she had to take several 'intimate' swabs and that we would go behind a small screen. (Yhis still meant that my wife was only sitting 2 or 3 feet away). Normally, of course, I would have been wearing a gown. The nurse was a lovely lady, but she did seem slightly flustered as she explained that she had to take swabs from the groin, anus....and penis. I decided that the easiest thing to do was simply to remove my briefs and so I did.
There I was standing stark naked in front of the nurse. It was not erotic in the slightest. Very quietly and professionally, she instructed me how to stand, bend over etc for each swab. It was all over in 2 or 3 minutes. Finally, I was able to get dressed and we hurried off to see the Consultant, just in time. But, as we stepped outside of the last examination room into the corridor, I met my wife's gaze and we both exploded into hysterical laughter.