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Richard Hoad


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I was a boy at Vaucluse the night Thomas died. Thomas was a Guyanese pan boiler who came over every year to work in the crop. He was walking back to his quarters after his shift when suddenly one side went numb. By next morning, he was dead.
Based on this knowledge, I knew exactly what was happening when my turn came last Thursday. I was handing a fellow some goat’s milk when suddenly I felt it. 
“This is the big one, baby!” I told myself. It was actually kinda funny to lift my left hand and leg only to have them fall down “Buggadung!” Control gone.
I am not a hospital person. Ever since I went to visit brother Joe and found myself flat out on the floor, I stay clear of such institutions. I can’t even handle stories about illnesses which the mother-in-law always saves for mealtimes. Now I would have no choice.
Strangely enough, on the way to Sandy Crest, I felt no fear. Nor at any time since. If you believe there is a God who knows what He’s doing, you just leave everything to Him. 
Nurse McClean was sweetness self. She could’ve taken me apart as she ran her various tests. 
Dr Holder, who looks about 18, was nice too, and obviously competent. The only tense moment came when she was testing the strength of my various appendages. 
“Raise right arm,” and she tried to pull it down, ditto left arm, right leg, left leg. 
Then she unzipped my pants!
Ohmigosh! I thought, she’s going to make me raise Clifford while she tries to pull him down! Cliff is a notoriously shy performer in front of an audience. Would he disappoint?
Turns out she only wanted to knead my belly. Clifford was devastated when she stopped just short of his area. After all, she said she was only checking my “vitals”.
Lessons from all this: (1) if you’re going with private medical care, have about $1 million in ready cash available; (2) walk with your BARP card. The CAT scan cost an extra 80 bucks because my wife rushed me out without it. Better to delay a few minutes even if you die.
I went for Bayview, private room. Thank God! Otherwise I’d be dead now.
Based on a very recent study (actually, I made it up about five minutes ago), 93.7 per cent of patients entering hospitals die of (wait for it) . . . embarrassment. Those ridiculous hospital gowns are part of it, but the main killer is gas. 
I attribute my trouble-free health over many years to eating small meals often. Starve me for 14 hours, as happened twice on this sojourn, and I fill up like a gas balloon. We Hoads don’t emit air in public and, were there someone else in the room, I couldn’t have survived. As it was, I had to chase the family out so I could flatulate in peace.
There was another good reason to get them out. I had noticed that the toilet wasn’t flushing properly. No son of Teddy Hoad could abide such, stroke or no stroke. And, before they cleared the foyer, I had the top off the cistern and was making necessary adjustments.
No such luck, however, with a stubborn brown mark on the right side of the toilet seat. I figured England cricketer Ryan Sidebottom must have had that room at some time and I was going to ask anyone who knew him intimately whether his affliction is directed towards gully or square leg. But I’ve since concluded it must be paint or something.
Many thanks to the staff at Sandy Crest and Bayview who treated me royally. To Ms Gloumeau’s ultrasound facility. And to Dr Carlisle Goddard who has me under control. My one regret is not going along with the sexy night nurse who offered to help me bathe. But I couldn’t trust Clifford.
Also thanks to the many well-wishers!
The wife and family have been great, pampering my every need. Contrary to what I wrote last week, I can’t stand being praised so they’d better get back to nagging. Even grandson Raffie put on his favourite CD – Proper Pork by Andrew Bynoe – to make me feel really at home.
As to the future, que sera, sera.
Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.