Rubba Rita

Going to art college then drama school represented to my Mum

Becoming an ‘anarchistic, promiscuous, miscreant, rebel-rousing, Idle, drunken, druggy-hippy-bum.’


(How we teenagers do like to please our parents)


‘Why can’t you be normal like your sister and leave school with a decent job?

‘Vera’s a nursing sister in a HOSPITAL THEATRE, now that’s a real job!’

And my college consent form vehemently left unsigned

Another career path I’d no recourse but to find


After a few jobs of this-and-that you could say I saw the light

And set out on the course of the Angels filling Mum with unbridled delight


‘Aye, Mrs Scott. That’s two Angels I’ve got now!’


(Cue: Annie Lennox)

‘La da de da de da da da daa daa daa

No one on earth could feel like this

I’m glowin’ and overblown with bliss...’


Fitted out in a candy-striped dress and a starched apron pristine-white

White cap perched upon my head I place Rubba Rita under the light

And after numerous pages written in nursing school with diagrams drawn on

I’m about to be let-loose on hospital wards now my first exams are done


Irrespective that just last week I shocked Rubba Rita into cardiac arrest

And had Rita been a human patient her chances weren’t the best

And her collapse rendering Rita in recovery-position already, I practised resuscitation procedure,

Collapsing her lung at which Rita stuck out her tongue and I failed to revive or retrieve her!



(First course: GERIATRICS)

‘Nurse, go take Mr Pinner’s glass-eye out, and give it a wash.’

‘No prob’s, Sister.’


Peering down into the rheumy-whites of two goggling-orbs contemplatively

I wonder why Rubba Rita didn’t have a glass-eye and whether my first procedure will go efficiently

(Or if I’ll gauge out the one good-eye not just a little disastrously!)

Which wouldn’t look good on my Syllabus for all the prospect seems to effect Mr Pinner rapturously


So I refer back to my ward superior:

‘Err.... Which eye, Sister?’

‘The one that doesn’t follow your black-stockings round the ward, Nurse.’


And back to rheumy eye-balls of salivating Mr Pinner

That both stare stark-still back at me like a snake lookin’ at dinner

I pinch the old fellow’s nose watching which eyeball favours thumb or finger

And whip it quickly out, without squirm or pause to linger

(And make a mental-note to cancel mid-morning break of egg and cress roll)


(Cue: Annie Lennox)

‘La da de da de da de da daa daa AARGH...’


(Back from morning tea-break)


Next I bath Mr Cottingham-Simms filling the bath to capacity with sudsy-soap

In futile endeavour to conceal his, outrageous Up PERISCOPE!


Gents’ Ward rounds done, I now go do my duties on the Ladies

Whose particular needs and idiosyncrasies are another bucket of maladies

Checking Mrs Hopper’s blood pressure, I’m concerned at the heightening flush of her skin

‘Til I take a sniff at her water jug, and note it’s ninety nine percent Gin


‘Hello, sweetie! I trust your enema’s goin’ well?’ I chirpily cheep to Mrs Dunsch

And the question proving a self-fulfilling prophesy I make a mental-note to cancel lunch


(Back on duty for my evening split-shift)


I empty Mrs Wright’s catheter just in time to save her dignity

And on ministering to her pressure-arias, Ward Sister approaches me


‘Nurse, we lost the patient in sideward 3 this afternoon; so go give Mrs Murray a bed-bath and pack up all her orifices.’


And studiously laying out my requisites I step into side-ward number three

And look down at the old girl with a singular sense of relief, she apparently went peacefully.

I then pull on my mask and rubber gloves with a meaningful dextrous twang

And pull the trolley over to Mrs Murray’s bed with an inadvertent CLANG


And bathing my charge respectfully, with care and gravitas

I near-jump out my own skin, as there’s a resounding blast of GAS!

Then I pack wads of cotton one-by-one in to every orifice

Counting on my fingers as I stare down the maw, of an endless esophagus

And what’s oozing out fast from below, before I can pack the wadding in

Smells so baaaaad I could do with a jug of Mrs Hopper’s GIN!


(And make a mental note to cancel supper)


(Cue: Annie Lennox)

‘AAAAAAARGH.. da-da-da d-d-d-d-dddddd...d-d....dddddddd....’



Having executed my first injections, blood-pressures,

temp’s (and notwithstanding lunch-losing moments) I finally pack away my stethoscope and thermometer;

And praising the Lord that no patient went blue from tourniquet constriction, I put away the Geriatric Ward’s sphygmomanometer.


(Second Course: T.B. Osteo & Pulmonary)


‘Well, Goooood morning, Nurse!’

  ‘Mornin’, Doctors.’


Trying the patience of Angels are medical-students Leigh and Craster

Ergo: this one keeps pawing my wrist to see if his crocodile-smile sets my pulse faster:

When all it does is make me want to do’s, cover his chops in a sticking-plaster.

And should either ask me out again and confer on the ‘allure’ of nurses’ frocks

I’ll smile like a coquet as I demurely adjust my armlet, and write my answer on a sputum-box.


(Third course: GYNAECOLOGY)

‘Nurse, would you go over and do the new patient’s pre-op’s.’

‘No prob’s, Staff-Nurse.’

I never got to do a gynecological pre-op on Rubba Rita, that’s on the premise she'd’ve made it alive to the theatre gurney

And studiously arranging the requisites on my treatment tray, I put on extra swabs for what might be my Angel career’s last journey;

And wheel my trolley along to the bottom of Miss Smith’s bed with a professional-air belying this is the first time I’ve done this

Hoping my razor won’t slip and I manage to relieve, the patient of her clitoris.


Musing that medicine’s a position just one step down from God

I throw the sheets over my patient’s face after an eyes-down perfunctory nod

(Lest it transpire she’d looked in the whites of the eyes of capable Nurse Sweeney Todd!)

And procedure executed sans a nick or need of the blood bank, I pull off my gloves and pull down my mask

And walking round my patient’s bedside ‘Is everything okay, sweetie?’ I ask

 Young Nurse sketch by Beth 'TOAD' Danby

(When recognition dawns on me)


‘Oh it’s YOU!  Gosh it’s been ages..

‘So sorry, he ha ha. I just didn’t recognise you from that side!’


(Cue: Annie Lennox)

‘Lovely Rita Meta Maid...’


Where’d Annie Lennox go?



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