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A prayer in time of great need

7 February, in the year of our Lord 2022

Up earely, and got myselfe ready, purposing to take my coach to the Repair Shopp, where they were to replace the breaks on the front wheels, so that it may stop properly and correcktly (a matter I had hoped to defer, having a new coach on order, but they told me the new may not arrive for six months, or even nine, for a world wide shortidge of Chips). There met by design Mr. M. Jones, who came in his coach to greet me, being luckily free, and we together to his house where fell into discourse for some little time; and anon took a little dinner, though all must be timed to the minute, for at two a-clock was my appoyntment to be put through the magick ray contryvance, and my instructions theretofore that I must drink at least a quart of water in the hour before it, and not void my bladder, which seemed to me a great trouble, but it would under mine the whole enterprise should I not do it. So took a great bottle of light glass, full of water, and swug it in Mr. Jones coach, riding thereby to the hospitall, which was not St. Jude’s but miles away at Bottlewithy. There found my destination to be located not within the precincts of the Hospitalle itselfe, but in one shabby corner of the great courtyard where all the coaches try to park, and all there a-squabble, there being no spaces, and a huge din with people crying above the naying of horses and the clatter of wheels, ‘There’s one, over there!’, and over the slamming of doors and the clashing of fists, ‘That man’s going! Quick!’. My objective had the appearance of a shack upon ricketty legs to lift it from the puddles and filth, in the hope that all the effluent from the horses might pass beneath it, though the boards to its little waiting room not so high above the cobbles that the ladys must not lift their skirts if they did tread upon them.
  ‘I confess to a little apprehension,’ vouchsafe I to Mr. Jones, ‘as to what might be revealed by this examination.’
  ‘I am sure there is no need. They will put you at ease, I am certain of it, for good patient communication is highly prized these days. I shall find another place to park the coach. Text me when you’re out.’
  Thus depositted, there sat I, on my own in the waiting room, and thought thus: viz. — that fifteen minutes of activitie can feel such a short time and fifteen minutes of boardom so long; but fifteen minutes of awareness of a filling bladder that under no circumstences might be relieved is interminable, and it put me in a great sweat. Anon, was bid by a minyon, naught more than a lad who came clad in a thread bare tunick, to cross to the shack on stilts wherein was positioned the great Contryvance (of which I heared my father speak, for he hath been fed through it, as I have related in the pages of this Journall), and Lord! there greeted in the middle of the room by a great Engine, with the semblance of the biggest poe-low Mint I saw in my entire life, all a-wherr and with twinkly lights. There bowed in greeting to me another of the kidney monks, again habitted all in black cassack, and around his waist a white cord, who with an outstreched hand bid me lie upon a stretcher that passed all the way through the Contryvance, at the foot end of which was positioned a second minyon.
  ‘You have not voided your bladder, Mr. Pepys? It is full, as advised?’
  ‘It is,’ say I, casting around for an emergencie chamber pot. ‘But I should warn you that you find me reaching my limit of distension.’
  ‘We shall expedite the procedure as necessary. But first, if you will give me your arm, I must thrust into this little venule here this enormous gaping hollow needle, thus — ’ (Ow!’) ‘ — and now dispense into your circulatory System — ’ (he opens a solution that smells of kelp) ‘ — this alchemickal material here. It is rich in Iodyne to outline the organs.’
  I now find myself speaking quickly, muscles a-clench netherly and with increasing uncertaintie how long they may hold out.
  ‘Thank you, but matters are now getting quite painful, if we can proceed forthwith!’
  ‘All in good time,’ says he. ‘We must not dispense with the preliminaries.’ Whereupon he takes up a kneeling attitude at my side. (This will be the bit where he puts me at ease, think I, the bit with the highly prized communication.) ‘Oh, Lord, our Heavenly Father,’ he intones, ‘who hath made us in Thy own image, we pray to Thee for the health of Thy unworthy out-patient, Samuel — ’
  ‘Amen,’ say I, hoping to get in quick, but there is more to go.
  ‘ — that the image we make ourselfs this day of his foetid innards be a fit and right Representacion thereof — ’
  ‘Theyarenotfoetidgetonwithit!’
  ‘ — and that all abberacions as may be found therein by the miraculous gift Thou hast given us of computerised Tomography may be revealed unto us; that his suffering may be assuaged — ’
  ‘Iambustingtogo!’
  ‘ — and that he may be delivered by Thy gracious hand from the prospect of perilous or grossly disfiguring Surgerie — ’
  ‘What?
  ‘ — or that with Thy divine guidance he be given the fortitude of Purpose to prepare for that time that must come to us all, to the day of Resurrection and to Thy Judgement in the manner of all his Sins.’
  ‘Mmmmmf!
  ‘In the name of the Father, and his son — ’
  ‘Jesus Christ!
  ‘ — and the Holy Spirit. Amen.’
  ‘Amen,’ chorus the minyons at either end of my stretcher. Where-upon all snap into action as they grab the stretcher poles to lift and tighten the canvas beneath me, and the Examination finally begins. Taking half a dozen little quick steps, the one of them tottering first forward and the other back, then the other forward and the first back, these two urchins ferry me back and forth through the giant mint with the Hole, this being performed severalle times before they rest, panting. The monk in his habit draws quickly with charcole upon an artist’s pad, now pausing to create a downward stroke, now a curve on the left and then again, slightly lower, on the right. All the while he checks a little magick screen before him, then shades a little here and smudges a little there. We have another couple of runs through while he scrutenises the final results, then all is done.
  ‘You will be pleased to know we are finished, Mr. Pepys. I am not permitted to divulge the results. They will be delivered in due course to your Chyrurgeon. Any questions?’
  By now my thighs are clamped together and I am nearly crying.
  ‘Pleasewhereisthenearestprivy?
  At last relieved and reunited with Mr. Jones, thence to retreave my coach with its new breaks, though at the Repair Shop they informed me that they had found also the cause of the noyse that comes from under its body, which they had said these two months to be of no consequence and the coach safe to be driven, only now it seems there is a repair needed of some urgincy, which vexed me for I did not understand how it could be changed around so.
  After supper to bed, though a poor sleep, for all the night a-fret for the fear of perilous and disfiguring surgery.

By andywmacfarlane

I am a retired medic who likes messing around with a bit of writing, and friends seemed to like my social media postings of "Samuel Pepys: The Covid Diaries". So I'm having a go at blogging them.

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