The other day, I sat down on my sofa with my evening meal and started watching a television programme that both Mrs PM and I really like. I started eating and watched the next scene – and almost retched.
I saw a man lying on an operating table with his chest cut open and a doctor probing the red mess inside.
“Oh for God’s sake!” I exclaimed covering my eyes. “I’m eating my dinner!”
I kind of hoped that the doctor on the TV would turn to me and say “Sorry Dave, we’ll move on to a more tasteful scene while you eat!”
Of course, he didn’t and I did my usual trick; I turned to Mrs PM and said “Tell me when it’s over.”
She just laughed, as she usually does and watched avidly, chomping on her food as if nothing odd was happening.
Deep down, I knew that the bloody scene on my television screen was not real and, in fact, was the product of the special effects department at the studio. Yet I couldn’t help myself. I waited until Mrs PM gave me the all clear.
There’s a deep irony here, dear reader, because a lot of the shows I like contain a lot of gore and blood and guts are frequently exposed. Yet each time I cringe inwardly and my stomach lurches because I simply cannot stand the sight of blood, real or otherwise.
I am squeamishness personified – I am Mr Squeamish.
I think if I were to injure myself I would pass out, not from shock, but from the sight of my own blood.
Many years ago, I had a blood test and, as the nurse, prepared my arm, she could tell that something was wrong.
“Are you okay?” she said.
“I’m a little squeamish,” I said.
“Most men are,” she said in a tone that was not meant to be mocking but somehow made me feel ashamed. I had to look away as she inserted the needle and drew out my lifeblood.
“There – it’s all over,” she said with a smile when she had finished. I felt like a child.
I’m not a big fan of needles, generally, and have similar experiences when I have to have a vaccination for trips abroad. One nurse actually told me off once because I was so tense that she was struggling to push the needle into my skin.
“Just relax,” she said, again as if I were a five year old. “The tenser you are, the longer this will take and the more it will hurt.”
It’s the same story at the dentist. My last major dental operation was to have a crown replaced and that experience was totally unpleasant, from the injection in my gum to the ripping out of the existing crown. I hate the sound of metal against metal or metal against enamel and I had to endure what seemed like an eternity as the dentist grinded his pliers against my crown in a desperate attempt to pull the thing off.
I also have a thing about eyes. My eyesight is terrible and many years ago I wanted to try contact lenses so that I could play football without being blind. The cost of a contact lens trial at the optician was £10 and I may as well have simply set fire to the note instead of handing over to the optician.
As soon as he went anywhere near to my eye, I flinched and pushed him away.
“Look,” he said in exasperation. “You have to let me do this.”
In the end, I turned as white as a ghost and felt extremely nauseous, so much so that he stopped immediately and offered me a glass of water.
“Are you going to be sick?” he asked, now looking concerned (probably more for the state of his consultancy room than for me).
“Maybe, “ I said trying desperately to hold onto the contents of my stomach.
Thankfully I survived and after five minutes I managed to pull myself together and walk out of the optician with his words ringing in my ears:
“You are too sensitive for contact lenses.”
Really he meant:
“You are too squeamish for contact lenses.”
Happily, I am not the most squeamish person I know. There is a guy at work who cringes at the very mention of the word “needle”. This weakness was exploited to maximum effect the other week. For some reason I mentioned the fact that the vaccination nurse had struggled to insert the needle in my arm because of the tense knotted muscles and he visibly looked shaken. I shall call him Mr Ultrasqueam.
“Just shut up,” he ordered.
“Why?” I asked.
“I pharrking HATE needles; they make me feel ill!” he exclaimed.
My desk buddies at work love this kind of stuff. When a member of the desk exposes a weakness, it is exploited with maximum prejudice and we all join in an attack, like sharks circling a drowning man in the sea.
Another desk buddy started laughing and told me in no uncertain terms that I was an utter wimp. He then went on to describe an operation that he had had in great detail involving needles, scalpels, a local anaesthetic and a very, very vulnerable part of the male anatomy.
He went into great detail including the mishaps. I won’t mention this in detail (in order to maintain the good taste element of my blog) but suffice it to say that Mr Ultrasqueam covered his ears with his hands and started shouting:
“For phark’s sake SHUT UP!”
There was blood in the water now and no mercy was shown. Other tales of needle mishaps and nasty operations were mentioned by other buddies and in the end the colour started draining from Mr Ultrasqueam’s face as he desperately implored us to shut up.
“I thought I was squeamish,” I said laughing, “but in my case I have to actually see the needle.”
“STOP MENTIONING PHARKING NEEDLES!” he screamed.
At this point we relented, in case he actually threw up. But it was hilarious.
A little later, when he had recovered, he said:
“If I EVER have to have even a minor operation, I will order them to give me a general anaesthetic so that I don’t have to be there when they start cutting and hacking.”
“You do know that they give you a local anaesthetic with a needle,” I said.
“STOP MENTIONING PHARRKING NEEDLES!” he shouted again.
I will remember this next time I am the victim of our wonderful banter.
In fact, I think I might start calling him "Needles"!
How about you, dear reader?
Are you as squeamish as Mr Squeamish (i.e. me)?
Are you as bad as Mr Ultrasqueam?