Sunday 23 October 2016

Family Guy: Hands up, this husband may not be the greatest patient...

George Costanza from 'Seinfeld' 2
George Costanza from 'Seinfeld' 2

I'M coming apart at the seams, I mutter to myself as, squinting into the bathroom mirror, I attempt to pluck what I think is a rogue, grey stalk of eyebrow hair, but which now appears to be a bit of stitching left behind after my accident a few weeks ago.

On closer inspection, I realise with mounting horror that it's actually attached, most likely to the titanium plate surgeons gave me as a souvenir of my late-night rendezvous with a dodgy curbstone.

"Ouch!" I say, then "Argh!"

"What's the matter?" says my wife when I shuffle in to the kitchen, still 'ouching' and 'arghing', heel of hand now clamped to the scar above my eye.

"There's a bit of string coming out of my head," I lament, as only an injured male can.

"If you pull it does it make your legs do 'the scissors'?" she chuckles. "Or do you just unravel.'

"Stop," I moan. "It's really weird." I dab at it.

"Let's have a look," she says, brushing my hand out of the way. "Oh," she mutters. "That is weird."

"Told you," I whine, patting the tiny bristle again and checking my hand.

"For heaven's sake," she sighs. "Just snip it off with the nail clippers and stop messing with yourself."

"Oh, so you're a doctor now?" I mumble.

"I'm a mother," she says. "So, yes. Close enough."

Reluctantly, I trudge off to find the clippers.

As it happens, neither of us have much time for doctors, drugs or medicine, historically.

When our four kids were still small and accident prone, there didn't seem much that couldn't be treated with a quick run under the tap or a bag of frozen peas. We'd really only resort to bringing a child to hospital if a bit came off them. "Pick that bit up, would you," we'd sigh. "Suppose we'll have to have it sewn back on again."

What's probably best described as a 'no fuss policy' in the minor injuries or illness stakes, does not by any stretch of the imagination mean that we're averse to letting one another know how miserable we are when ill or injured - and we'll more than make up for any deficit in the sympathy department by making damn sure the other person in the room shares our suffering.

And when we can't get our better half to diagnose us with something suitably dramatic, there's always the internet to help amp up our angst, 'our' meaning 'my', of course.

"It's not man flu," I recall spluttering once through wads of tissues, wheezing and moaning as I motioned victoriously to the computer screen and adding weakly: "I think it might actually be extracorpeal membrane oxygenation this time."

"Oh God," my wife said, reading. "Hope it's not contagious."

"Contagious?" I whimpered.

"Being an idiot, I mean. You've just accidentally looked up the name of a hospital machine for helping babies breathe better, you enormous plonker."

Back in front of the bathroom mirror, I peer at myself again. "Could it be true?" I mumble at my reflection. "You're slowly turning in to George Costanza from 'Seinfeld'?

Clippers poised, I'm startled from the procedure by the chime of my iPhone, which turns out to be a message from a friend who's been away on basic training with the army. 'Pint?' it says.

Suddenly, I can't wait to show him the strange bit of surgical stitching poking out of my eyebrow. "C U in 10 mins," I text.

A short while later, my friend is blinking at me in the dim light of our favourite pub. "Buggered if I can see anything in here," he says, giving up. "Is it like a bit of fishing line?"

"Fishing line?" I say, slurping my pint, eyes wide.

"Yes, I'm training as a combat medic. The sutures we sometimes use look a bit like that."

"Combat medic," I coo, taking another slurp. "Wow."

My wife collects me in the car and I flip down the sunshield, craning my neck to see my eyebrow in the dark.

"I showed him my suture," I tell her. It's 'mine' now, I notice, and it's a 'suture'.

"Oh?" she says, wrestling the car into the road with the steering wheel.

"He told me I should probably just snip it off and quit messing with it," I say.

"Exactly what I said," she snaps. "So how is it you listen to him and not to me?"

"You're not a combat medic," I tell her, emphasising the words 'combat' and 'medic' in a way that instantly makes transparent how impressed I am by this and that I've actually had a real one assess my injury.

When we get home, I march straight to bathroom and whip the clippers from the edge of the sink purposefully, turning on the little shaving light above the medicine cabinet as I do so.

Only then, finally and indisputably, do I realise that it is, in fact, just a single, spiky, white hair that I'm tugging at after all.

"Weird," I whisper hoarsely, before snipping it off.

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