Monday, March 03, 2008

A bedbath for the soul

At last, a refuge from puritanism, finger-wagging and sanctimony. I need to think of a way to spend a couple of weeks or so in a hospital.

You might have thought that lying on your back being tended to by a group of dirty, debauched girls would be the stuff of dreams; but apparently not. It's noteworthy that it's the sexual angle to Lord Mancroft's comments that really caught the imagination – why else mention it if, as he claimed, he was worried about their failings in a professional context? It does capture the attention, of course, which is why the story was followed up the way it was; Nurses: we do seduce our patients is a classic of the pretending to be shocked genre.

While many a middle-aged male news editor might be eager to put these naughty girls across their knees and give them a good metaphorical spanking, they might want to reflect that being surrounded by death, illness and suffering on a daily basis would give you a graphic reminder that life is all too short; too short certainly to worry about the sensibilities of the finger-waggers and the prigs.

Not that it's just nurses, of course. Other medical staff and patients are also doing their bit to blow smoke rings in the faces of the puritans, with two thirds of hospitals flouting the the smoking ban; because in some circumstances telling people they must not smoke is probably not, in fact, going to be looking after their best interests.

It's even possible that a stay in hospital will offer the infinite comic potential of workers attempting sexual congress with a vacuum cleaner.

PS: I don't want to labour this point to inappropriate degrees, but in general it's medical staff with an over-exaggerated sense of their virtues and importance that you want to watch out for.

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