I Bring You Gifts

Little can make you humbler or more solicitous of others’ feelings than returning to the Acute Stroke Unit with two gallon jugs of your own urine.  There is no greatness in toting around large containers that you have carefully filled from your own bladder.  There is little sadder than handing them over at the nurse’s station, not least because you have to say something other than, hey, this is the piss you wanted.  This is England.  You have to apologise.  You can’t just plonk it down and announce BEHOLD I BRING YOU GIFTS FROM MY PENIS.

No matter how much you might want to.  It’s not on.  These people have enough to deal with.  The bays in the ward were all full.  I recognised my reflection in the shocked eyes of the men in the beds.  How the hell did this happen?  Why did my body try to die?  I have a little bit of survivor’s guilt: it was established within three days that I hadn’t actually had a stroke, and I left the ward alone and under my own power.

The attractive dark-haired girl in the tight black tunic from the catering service came out of the food prep area as I was entering the ward.  “Hello!” she said.  “What brings you back here?”

“Well,” I said.