Continued from yesterday…

The Pathology Lab is closed!!!

Oh! Such unforeseen twists and turns in plot I give you!

There is a sign up, with the opening hours. The opening hours do not include Saturday morning. A small window in the door reveals a dark and deserted waiting area.

Except clearly the Pathology Lab is not REALLY closed. The common bacterium does not keep a nine to five day. It works round the clock, seeking to disfigure and disrupt our immune systems. Thus the Lab must be available, to help the Intensive Care people and everybody. There will be Pathologists in there!!! They are hiding, forced by hospital managers to work in the dark, away from the public eye!!! I hammer on the door in frustration.

No Pathologist breaks cover, and I beat a retreat across football pitches back to the reception area.

“I have this,” I explain to the lady, “to hand in to the Pathology Lab.” I brandish the turd by means of explanation. “But the Pathology Lab is closed, despite my ringing in advance and being assured it was open.” I do not mention that the Pathologists are working clandestinely in the dark. I do not know if she is party to this.

“Take it next door and hand it in at A&E,” she replies.

“Thank you.”

I leave the Hospital entrance, and walk along the pavement to A&E. Passing a bored ambulanceman, I present myself at reception. There is nobody there. I wait for a bit before a Reception Lady appears.

“Who’s next?” asks the Reception Lady.

There is confusion. Another client is also waiting. She is a harrassed mother with a clearly unwell eight-year old. I am a slightly out-of-breath but otherwise healthy man carrying turd in a clear plastic jar.

“After you!” offers the harrassed mother, politely.

“No – please – you go first,” I insist.

“No – go on – you were here first.”

The Reception Lady looks impatiently at us. I agree to go first to avoid further delay. “I’ll be no time, anyway,” I reassure the mother.

“I have this,” I demonstrate, “to hand in. I called first to ascertain that the Pathology Lab would be open, but it is not open.” (Again, I did not grass up the Pathologists, as it was not their fault that I was given wrong information. I do not want them to fear reprisals.) “So I went back to reception and they told me to come here and hand it to you.”

“They shouldn’t have said that.”


“We don’t take samples in. You’ll have to go back to main reception.”

“But they told me to come here. Because they wouldn’t take it.”

“But they shouldn’t have said that.”

At this point I lose my temper. I talk about taking responsibility for things, and giving people proper information, and performing a service to the public and all that, and I go a bit red in the face and wave my turd. She seems unimpressed and I run out of steam.

“Give it here,” she says abruptly. “I’ll take it back to main reception.”

“But it needs to go to the Pathology Lab.”

“I’ll take it to Main Reception. They can organise it. They shouldn’t have told you to bring it here. They need to be told.”

She disappears down the corridor with the turd. I give a weak smile of apology to the waiting mother. Her son coughs feebly. I leave them alone in the empty room.