So last night my girlfriend and I got stinkingly pissed. We came home and passed out on the bed. I woke up three hours later and went to the toilet. As I stood up urinating I started feeling dizzy and like I was gonna pass out. I knew I was blacking out and needed to get myself to the ground but was still pissing and didn't want to get piss everywhere. I managed to finish my piss and put my fella away but I blacked out and smacked my head on the sink. Then I had a little rest on the bathroom floor as that unmistakeable feel of a whitey passed over me, that cold pale sickly poison feeling. Then I got up and mopped up a pool of blood and a spurt of blood going across the sink. Then I went to look for a plaster. Then my girlfriend woke up and it was clear we should go to A+E cos we could see a bit of my skull. So we got a cab to A+E. The first nurse took some notes and I made sure she wrote down that I managed to finish my piss and never pissed over myself and so that I'm a proud man, an icon even. Then I puked up sushi in front of her. Then they wheeled me and sat me on a bed and a nurse stuck a big fat needle in my arm and I could feel the hot juice of my blood gushing down my arm like warm syrup. At all times I was hilarious and bringing the banter like a proper ledge. My girlfriend will confirm how heroic I was. Then they took some blood for testing. Then they wheeled me into another bit and stuck a saline drip in me. I'd never had that before and didn't like it at first cos it was cold. I could feel cold fluid going into my body and meeting warm blood. I don't know what that phenomenon is called in nature when warm water meets cold? And I'm not sure what kind of habitat or ecosystem it creates? Either way it was a feeling. Then I imagined cliched films where someone wakes up in a hospital and doesn't remember who they are and they pull the things out their arm and manage to slip out past the busy medical staff walking back and forth. Then a fun nurse came and we had a giggle. Then a miserable nurse came and we didn't have a giggle. I bombarded staff with questions because I find medicine quite interesting - and also I'm a very wearying man who wants to know exactly what they're doing to me. Then the doctor came and injected my eyebrow with anaesthetic. That hurt a teeny bit. Some of the anesthetic dribbled down my face and made my lips numb. I quite liked it. Then the doctor sewed me up and I got five stiches. Anaesthetic is good cos I didn't feel anything. That shit works. The needle they use is small and curved like a little scimitar. Apparently they practice on pig skin at medical school. I got some good pics of my split open head but I'm not putting up the grisly photos cos I don't want to upset my mum. Then the doctor left the room. Then he came back and conluded that my passing out was not so much the booze, but more my labyrinthitis and something called micturition syncope where your blood pressure drops during or after pissing and can cause you to faint. What a bizarre and ridiculous thing to potentially have, albeit entirely in keeping with the kind of rubbish condition I would have if I ever did have to have a condition of some sort. The important thing to remember in all this is that I didn't piss over myself and subsequently am pretty close to being some kind of folk hero as I am a man who chose to pass out and smack his head on the sink rather than piss all over himself. If society had more people like me who were prepared to make a stand for standards and values then we would be in a better place. All the nurses agreed. Then me and my girlfriend went home. What follows are some thoughts:
LOVE OF THE NHS
The fact that I - a hapless schmuck - can injure myself and then go to a place where some strangers will take care of me is ridiculous and we should never become immune or inured to how incredible and mind-blowing that phenomenon is. Every day we have an NHS is a watershed moment in human existance. To care for one another is the peak of human poetry. The place was full of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Romanian, African, British, Sikh, Hindu, French, German, Polish, atheist, caring, piss-taking, miserable, tired, mucking about, hilarious angels. Some of them were a laugh. Some were humourless. Some were rude. Some tired. I don't care. They are alive and part of a living system. I like that individual personalities unencumbered by corporate speak can express the nuance of their own humanity and therein lies the humane heart and soul of the system.
Even though my head had been split open and sewn back together I came away exhilarated and full of life. There is nothing like being alive at 5am in any city. Walking the streets, driving around or being in your own room - I have always been in awe of that time and what your body and senses say to you when you stay up all night. Mystic whisperings take place. I've always seen it as a symbolic conquering of death. Night and sleep are when we go into the dark. In doing so it echos the grave. But to avoid that, dodge that, to arrogantly stick your fingers up and conquer the night, survive the darkness and remain alive, to hear the starlings in the trees, to hear the blackbirds in the trees, to hear the magpies in the trees, to have kept pace with the turning world and emerge alongside the dawn is a special thing. The world tried to turn it's back on you but you were more than its equal. If a taste of immortality is to ever be taken, it can be found in those youthful moments of staying up all night.
Anyway, smacking my head on the sink has been a great evening. I think my girlfriend will agree. I love looking at the plaster on my eye and with my stubble and jumper I really feel like a man's man. And I am. I am a man's man who, when all is said and done, people will be able to say of me, "He was a man - a man who didn't piss on himself. He chose to smack his head on a sink and pass out rather than become one of those people who will happily wet themselves. Let us think of him not as a hero, not as an inspiration and an icon - but simply as a man. An inspirational and iconic man. May angels be with him always and may we draw inspiration from him eternally."
I imagine many of you will want to shake my hand and have selfies taken with me. Please get in touch as this can be arranged - although I want to say loudly and in as many ways as I can - that I am a quiet man of few words.
Lee Kern, BA (hons) MA (Cantab), non pisser of self, icon, hero, exceptional ordinary bloke