Is the street in the Melways?
Can I find it on Google Maps?
Do I have to travel through a wardrobe to get to it?
Just how steep is the driveway?
Will I need snow tyres?
Will I need a pickaxe and grappling hooks?
Do they have a dog?
Does the dog bite?
Does the dog foam at the mouth with blazing red eyes and speak fluent Portuguese?
Does the patient bite?
Do they have their own teeth?
How strong is the denture glue?
Should I wear gumboots?
Should I wear steel-caps?
Should I wear a kevlar vest and 7 inch stiletto pumps?
Do all the lights work?
Do any of the lights work?
Are the premises supplied with electricity?
Is there adequate ventilation?
Are there any firearms on the premises?
How likely am I to encounter animal faeces?
How likely am I to encounter human faeces?
Am I likely to encounter anyone who considers faeces to be appropriate visiting attire?
Are there geese?
Have the geese been locked up for extended periods?
Are the geese… silent?
When was the fridge last opened?
How many decades of newspapers are stacked behind the front door?
Do they have a copy of the Age from April 23rd 1997? (there’s an article I’ve been looking for…)
How long are the patient’s fingernails?
When did the patient last fondle a stranger’s breast?
Are there charges pending?
Is the water potable?
When was the Legionnaires’ disease last isolated from the water barrels?
Will the phrase ‘Is that anthrax?’ produce a strange giggling response?
Is there anywhere to sit?
Is there anywhere to stand?
How many cats?
Come on, serious now, how many cats?
When did the patient last eat?
Is there an echidna boiling on the stove?
Are there dead cats in the bath?
Are the dead cats in the hall cupboard?
Are the dead cats stuffed into beanbags?
Where are the damn cats?
Has the patient been contacted by phone?
When was the patient last seen alive?
Has anyone seen the geriatrician?
Something from my day job. About 80% of what you read above has happened to either myself or a member of our team. I think that it’s easy to forget that sometimes health care workers come across the unpleasant, the tragic and the utterly bizarre in our travels. And, at times, it can be dangerous. Is it any wonder that black humour is so rife?
My thanks to Steve Smart for his help with this poem, and his friendship.