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Up against the Norwegians

Copperfield gets a touch of the Ronnie Corbetts after his son is assessed in hospital for a skiing injury

I don’t often get a touch of the Ronnie Corbetts but here I am, sat in the big chair.

You see, my friend has a son, well, in fact he has two, but this story is only about one of them. And it doesn’t involve his daughter at all, come to think of it. So, my friend has a daughter and two sons and it was the younger one, not the one who plays the piano, who has a Norwegian girlfriend. That’s the younger one who has the Norwegian girlfriend, not the one who plays the piano.

Younger son who has a Norwegian girlfriend went to visit her hometown and was enticed onto the ski slopes for the first time. Fifteen minutes into his first sortie down the nursery run he managed to spiral fracture his tib and fib. Which reminds me of another story, but that’s another story.

Anyway, the medical team stretchered him down to the local hospital who performed an open reduction, nailed in some Meccano, and sent him off to check-in at a certian budget airline’s counter, who, being the kind-hearted souls we know and love, charged him for two extra seats to rest his newly plastered leg on. They also gave him a CD of his X-Rays, before and after, as it were. The hospital did that, not the budget airline.

After a short flight home and a journey along the M40 with his plastered leg sticking out of the window he arrived at a Centre of Excellence’s fracture clinic.

‘Ah,’ said the expert consultant fracture nurse practitioner, ‘they’ve just splinted it then?’

‘Actually no,’ said his girlfriend, and to prove it, ‘we’ve brought pictures, they’re on this CD.’

A suitably long wait later they were joined by an orthopaedic surgeon. Obviously a big lad and good with his hands but not, it would seem, an IT wizard.

‘Er, sorry but we’d better x-ray that leg again. We can’t get the CD to open, so we can’t see the films.’

‘That’s odd,’ said the girlfriend, ‘I got them to open on my laptop with no trouble at all. There’s some self opening image reading software on the disc.’ Apparently, the hospital network won’t allow self-opening software to self open, especially if it’s Scandanavian self-opening image reading software. Probably packed with pornographic images of Norwegian wood.

‘I uploaded them to my Facebook page if that’s any good to you.’

The problem is that Centres of Excellence don’t allow access to Facebook in working hours. So, the next thing you know, bloke with fractured tib and fib is hopping around the plaster room trying to get a signal on his Nokia to show the surgeon the pictures of his injured leg.

Eventually, the leg is re X-rayed. The surgeon makes reassuring noises about how the fracture has been treated (‘It’s pretty much what we would have done…’), which sounds a bit odd as you’d imagine a hospital in a ski resort at the foot of a mountain would have a little more experience in rejoining bits of broken tourist than one in one of the flattest shires in the United Kingdom.

And all the while this saga was unfolding David Cameron was on the TV screen in the corner, pledging to make the NHS a world-class service.

Third world class, maybe. Up against the Norwegians, Maggie Thatcher, Winston Churchill, Andrew Lansley, your boys took a hell of a beating…

‘Sick Notes’ by Dr Tony Copperfield is out now, available from Monday Books.

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