Working as a practice nurse giving one-to-one care means that you get to know your patients and for the most part this is a lovely side of the job. I used to routinely see Beatrice, a tiny old lady who spoke even better English than the Queen, Geoffrey, a lovely old gent who dressed and spoke like he was still in the RAF and Gerry who was once a window cleaner. Gerry told me that he used to clean windows for a married lady in a very nice house who once invited him in. I asked if he'd accepted her invitation and he casually replied 'Yes I did and we made love on the rug in front of the fire'. He then shared with me his opinion that everybody looks better with clothes on. Maybe the rich married woman wasn't that hot underneath her designer outfit! I always enjoyed chatting with these patients while I changed their dressings. As I said, for the most part this side of practice nursing is lovely but there are some regular patients who are just plain weird. 

I used to see Trevor, a 74 year old pervert for an injection that had to be given into his buttock each month. He would arrive wearing a low V neck jumper (with nothing underneath), a thick gold chain and a moustache that had surely only ever been seen before in a 1970's adult movie. He would refer to me as 'Babes' which I hated and it always made me slightly queasy that he always made a special effort to wear Calvin Klein boxers for the appointment knowing that I would have the great honour of seeing them. When I was ready to inject he would, without fail, slide one side of his boxers down and say 'Do what you gotta do Babes'. This always made me shudder. He seemed to believe that I was a great friend of his and talked to me for ages dropping in the odd 'Sweet' nickname.

Smear tests can also be a challenging experience, especially if the patient starts screaming about what a bitch you are while doing your best to take the sample in as pain free a manner as possible. I've had every swear word thrown at me during these tests and honestly, they're really not that painful to have. Sometimes I just want to tell a patient to grow up. I had one woman who was so scared about having it done that she arrived blind drunk. I could smell the booze from across the waiting room and watched her stagger towards me. She got prepared on the couch and just as I was about to start the test she yelled at me to stop and said she would only go through with it if her favourite doctor came to hold her hand. To my amazement he graciously halted his own clinic to assist me and meet her request! By the end of the morning a huge bouquet of flowers had arrived at the surgery to thank us for our efforts. I guess she felt bad once she started to sober up!

I used to see a young woman for weekly weight checks and to discuss her diet journal. She'd speak to me at great length about how sometimes she'd have a cheese sandwich, sometimes a cheese and tomato sandwich and on days when she was feeling especially frivolous, she'd have a cheese and tomato sandwich with a little bit of pickle! I learnt never to ask her about her vegetable intake after she got shirty with me because, apparently she'd already told me that she got all her vegetable needs from Findus Crispy Pancakes.

Another regular patient Malcolm has attended various surgeries I've worked at. He can only be described as Jeremy Beadle when he was in disguise for the show 'Beadle's About'. He always had on about seven layers of clothing whether it was snowing or a tropical heatwave. He always wore fake Ray Bans, even in the dimly lit waiting room as well as a leather Fedora, which in later years he upgraded to a red baseball cap. He called every female member of staff 'Madame' and used to make appointments for the most obscure things, such as being 'strangled by a gypsy in the damp' under the guise of a blood pressure check. I once spent 45 minutes discussing his route to London on public transport and how when he was in bed at night eating egg sandwiches he got a strange sensation in his chest. He frequently wrote to the local MP and had even been known to turn up on his doorstep late in the evening. He also had an obsession with Princess Anne and believed that by writing to her all his concerns about the local town would be resolved. He refused to see a Doctor if their treatment room was on the first floor because he found stairs difficult but at the same time would refuse to use a lift! He'd previously seen a "very learned Spanish doctor" who he rated very highly and I can only assume he had a room on the ground floor as we didn't meet Malcolm's standards.

There was Derek who spent a day painting the exterior of his house in 30 degree heat. When he felt thirsty he drank a whole bottle of white wine and wondered why he felt so ill. His son had to carry him to bed that night. And creepy Rick who in his early seventies married a girl from Thailand who was half his age. He used to tell me how she was his "angel" and loved to look after him. He also once advised me that it's "a physical impossibility to drink four pints of water but beer or coke is fine-it's the fizz that helps".

Honestly there is no helping some people, but as I'm proving they are difficult to forget and make for superb reminiscing.


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