I meet all kinds of people every day and they seriously try my patience. However, I very, very rarely let on just how much a patient is irritating me. I just smile, speak as sweetly but assertively as possible and move on to the next problem. That is what being a nurse in charge is all about. As I’m always telling my staff, extinguish a fire, don’t throw kerosene on it.

But that does not mean there isn’t a continuous running commentary racing through my mind. 

So here it is…what I am really thinking when people ask me certain questions at work….

Patient: do I need to remove my underwear before my colonoscopy?

No. I’ll just slice out of your boxers a colonoscope-sized hole adjacent to your anus with a surgical blade. No biggie.

Patient: on the notice I received at home it said I can’t eat or drink before my operation. So I can’t have tea and toast for breakfast?

Are they made of air?

Patient: can I take my mobile in to the operating theatre? 

Yeah sure…I can only just imagine the rousing conversation you will have while anaesthetised and intubated….or the dashing selfie you will take while a machine is doing your breathing for you…

Relative: can I stay with the patient while he is in theatre?

Can I autoclave you and put you in sterile packaging?

When offering post-operative tea or coffee-

Patient: don’t you have hot chocolate?

Yes…or would you prefer some lobster bisque?

Patient: do I have to wear the hospital gown?

Well, if you want a fashionable array of bodily fluids on your own clothes, no.

Me: do you have any allergies?

Patient: just to my wife! Heh heh!

With that winning sense of humour I’m surprised she hasn’t OD’d on antihistamines long ago…

Me to patient on morning of procedure: so you can’t drive until 24hrs after surgery…

Patient: so I can drive tonight then?

Seriously? Really? 

Staff member: can I take a half day today?

With six nurses on sick-leave, 60 surgeries, one nurse who fell ill on the job and three new graduates on the ward, hey, why not???

Patient: if you were single, I’d marry you!


Staff member: I want to go for my break right now! 

No problem…that rather unstable and gasping elderly new admission doesn’t really need your help, I’m sure she’s just faking it…that attention-whore.

Me: someone rang the call bell in room 5…

Staff member: she’s not my patient…

And if you fall down and break your neck I’ll just step over you and be on my way because you are not my patient…

So yes people, even though I am generally quite honest and over all adorable, there are definitely moments when my sweet demeanour is a deceitful lie.

I just thank God I have never met a mind reader.

And this is shakshusha, a rather benign looking dish, but deceptively spicy, a bit passive-aggressive,surprisingly delicious and rather cheeky to boot…