This tale dates from the time I spent, around 18 months ago, in the loony bin - officially referred to as 'The Unit'.
I don't tend to say too much about the 'Unit' because I actually, quite seriously, want to do a book about my experiences in and around the place - a sort of unique 'laugh until you cry and then cry some more at the sad bits' kind of look at what it's like to actually almost die, go insane, be incacerated etc (hmm sounds a laugh a minute doesn't it!), rather than just dally round the edges of it like I do most days.....(in the meantime if anyone would like to publish the other random facts of my life then I'm happy to oblige and provide you with whatever format you require. Although I draw the line at naked posturing - my bum ain't what it once was - as you are about to discover).
Anyway while I was in The Unit I had a bit of a problem of an embarrassing nature (well apart from being very mental - which was embarrassing enough itself).
I had, very recently, had a 10lb+ baby and this had had unfortunate consequences not only for my sanity but also for my backside.
Now I know they are like the 'last taboo' but, in case you are lucky enough not to realise this yet (and they come to most of us I believe) piles are basically varicose veins in your bum and OH.MY.GOD they HURT. I had no idea how much they hurt until I got them. Every time you go to the loo, it's like having another baby....
I had enough on my plate, what with going mad and being locked up, so I didn't want to also suffer physical agony every time I needed the toilet - so I asked one of the many medical staff on duty for some medication.
No problem they said.
I should have realised, what with this being The Unit and all that, it wouldn't be that simple.
First of all my medication had to be prescribed by a doctor - and for this a call was put out to 'bring one in'.
All because I needed a poo.
Having been interviewed 'thoroughly' by the doctor, I was told to go and wait in the lounge and my medication would be brought to me.
So I waited (I tell you what, it's a good job things weren't desperate).
The red 'alarm' light went on which meant someone was in the Medication Room. Good sign.
Then one of the nurses appeared, walking towards me, and the other inmates, holding a large tray. Bad sign.
It didn't help that the nurse in question was male and French. I shall refer to him as Pascal (not his real name).
Pascal: Eeer we have ze medicine, as you 'ave requested, madame.
Me: Erm, WHAT?
Pascal: Err, theez eez le tablet, for your, err, probleme. And ear is ze special creme. And zee rubber gloves you may wish to be wearing for your tablet. And zee special jelly.
Me: (now the colour of a beetroot) JELLY?
Pascal: Er, yes, how you say, zeee K Y Jelly. For zee tablet. Le tablet - it eez not for the mouth, you understand? It is for zeee......
Me: YES I KNOW WHERE IT'S FOR! THANK YOU! GOOD BYE!
All around me other patients sat open-mouthed. I can only pray they thought it was part of their psychosis.
Whereever I thought the route to madness would take me, sitting in a communal lounge with a Frenchman in front of me, proffering me a selection of arse tablets, complete with rubber gloves and 'special jelly' was not, I must admit, in my 'things that may happen and I need to worry about' list.
It was now.
You see as if the 'presentation' wasn't bad enough, once I had used my 'medicine', the entire tray had to then be returned to Pascal so that he could check I had taken my medicine and wasn't secretly stashing away supplies of Anusol and KY Jelly in order to do myself in.
I mean please, however bad it gets, you would have to be on a whole other branch of insanity to actually think that you could/should/would like to top yourself using Haemorrhoid medication...
How would that work anyway? NO - don't even go the there.
'I'm afraid to inform you Sir that your wife was stockpiling KY Jelly.......We think it was a cry for help that went too far'.
I'd already put my family through enough without that being splashed across the front of the local paper.
It soon became known amongst the inmates that every time I needed a poo, Pascal would need be to be summoned and 'the tray' presented.
Oh how we laughed.
The most excruciating occasion was when I was waiting to go out for a supervised walk, together with all the other patients, various visitors and a large amount of staff. In the middle of all of this I realised I needed the toilet.
Before I could mutter another word somebody shouted 'CALL PASCAL, SHE NEEDS A POO.....' and voila! 'Madame, eeer is zee tray'......
I don't think I'll ever eat in a French Restaurant again.
There are no secrets in mental health. Not even the timing of your bowels.
It's OK - you can go back to your ironing/gardening/DIY/egg eating now. My self-flagellating for the weekend is done. Oh and if the book on the 'The Unit' ever gets taken up - you I'll let you know. Just so you don't miss anything.