There is many a good tune played on an old fiddle.

“Fall in!” to ‘fall ill’.

Posted by Big John on September 27, 2006

It is not often that I blog about my daily routine, my home life or my health, but today I am feeling like shit due to a painful ear infection and a fever; so like all big strong brave men I am going to wallow in my misery, sit in my armchair, force a cup coffee between my parched lips and watch my wife do the housework.

After much persuasion by ‘er indoors’ I made an appointment to see a doctor at the local health centre, which meant that after a shower and breakfast I took a few minutes drive in my comfortable air conditioned car, sat in a pleasant waiting room and then had a friendly consultation with my GP. On the way home I stopped off at the pharmacy to pick up some anti-biotics. All this took about forty minutes, so not too much of a hardship was it ? …  but as I sat in the doctor’s waiting room I remembered a time long ago when you had to be fit to ‘go sick’.

‘Going sick’ on an RAF training camp back in the 1950s was not something you undertook lightly, for you did not just turn up at the ‘sick quarters’ and say  … “Good morning doctor I feel ill” … for before you could get anywhere near a doctor, or even a medical orderly, come to that, you had to survive the ‘sick parade’…. which entailed …

  • Getting up a dawn.
  • Folding your bedding and cleaning your bed space.
  • Packing all your clothing and equipment into your kitbag (in case you ended up in hospital).
  • Washing and shaving.
  • Packing your small kit (a sort of military overnight bag).
  • Dressing in your best uniform.
  • Polishing your boots and cleaning your ‘brass’.
  • Missing breakfast (too early).
  • Parading outside the sick quarters in the rain or snow.
  • Being ‘gently‘ questioned and inspected by various NCOs to see just how close to ‘death’s door’ you really were.

Needless to say not many brave souls would endure this experience, preferring to suffer in silence rather then finish up with an aspirin, a laxative pill, or ….

……     even bloody pneumonia.

4 Responses to ““Fall in!” to ‘fall ill’.”

  1. ginnie said

    Wow…only 40 minutes to see the Dr, get your meds and get back home…that would be unheard of where I live! I hope you feel better soon, John.

  2. gawilli said

    The sick parade sounds like what I would make my kids go through when they feined illness in high school. Boy I sound like a mean mom. They darn well had to be sick to stay home, and if they stayed home they were in for the day/night. If it was a Friday, they were in for the weekend. They didn’t miss a whole lot of school.

    Glad you went to the doctor – you’ll be on the mend now. Is that you in the picture?

  3. I hate ear infections! Glad you got drugs right away…it can get really nasty if you don’t. I think you need to rest all thru the weekend……that’s to make up for all that time in the military when they wouldn’t let you be sick.

  4. Big John said

    It’s not always that fast Ginnie. I just got lucky that day.

    Yes Gawilli, that’s me as a 19 year old ‘National Service’ conscript. In those days all fit young men had to spend two years in the military.

    Thanks Susan, I think that this will be a ‘feet up’weekend for sure.

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