In The Room With Dr Bowler

Imagine an invisible, invincible snail. We’ve all done this I’m sure, but this particular snail is also intelligent and highly motivated. It’s not the speediest thing in the world, no, but it knows where you are and is out to get you. If it touches you, you suffer a month-long, agonising death which no amount of drugs can alleviate. You won’t be able to sleep or anything. It will be an absolute shocker. On the plus side, you can have £100,000,000 and full diplomatic immunity now if you take up the challenge of living the rest of your life knowing it’s out there, plotting and scheming. You can’t wear salt infused clothing so the snail shrivels up if it gets you – my suggestion – because, as outlined in the legal jargon, it is invincible. You could move to a small island because snails can’t swim, as suggested by the scrub nurse (this conversation was taking place during a leg amputation), but there is always the chance it would smuggle itself in with your supplies because, as stated, it is quite a wily snail.

After some debate, it was concluded that the only hope, really, was for someone to inadvertently trap it somewhere, although even then it might be able to teleport somehow. Also, you wouldn’t know it had been trapped so would still have the psychological pressure driving you ever-closer to paranoid madness. For this reason and others, I declined the challenge as unwinnable, and this was the prevailing opinion by the time I lifted the unattached but surprisingly heavy and bendy leg from the table and put it carefully in the Limb Bin, although our anaesthetist was requesting clarification on the teleportation clause before committing either way.

If you don’t fancy the invisible snail challenge, but would still find £100,000,000 and full diplomatic immunity for life useful, you could seduce a colleague for the same reward. They have to be a colleague you work with often, if not daily, but you can’t just have a go on them, because there has to be an element of romance. ‘You have to woo them a bit before you put it in’, as Dr Bowler, the presiding consultant surgeon, expressly stated. You can’t open a new unit and employ your partner, as was suggested by the head end nurse, because you’ve already seduced them. Also, because of unspecified but severe penalties – agonising death again, probably, which also happens if you fail to seduce anyone – the other person can’t know about the challenge. How or if you explain £100,000,000 and diplomatic immunity to your existing partner and whatnot if you win is up to you. For this reason, it would appear to favour the single employee, but generally seems more reasonable and at least you might get a bit.

I did spot a flaw, however: if you put the work in romancing a colleague, but then get blown out, it’s likely that everyone would be talking about it, no matter how secret you’d tried to keep things. This makes moving onto a secondary target harder, because you might come across as a bit needy, which won’t help. We were able to consider this fully during a tibial angioplasty, as they take about an hour. I think you could mitigate the ‘needy’ aspect by adopting a ‘I’ve been hurt so many times before’ routine for a mercy shag, which I think, legally, would qualify as woo-ing. It was pointed out by the imaging matron that our hospital does have a legal team, and that perhaps we should ask them. Anyway. I was almost barred from entering when it was suggested that my new role as Wellbeing Officer would count as insider trading, on the grounds that I might be privy to information about lonelier and/or unhappier members of staff. I countered by pointing out that there are literally no happy nurses, no matter how many cats and Cadbury’s Heroes you give them, and that anyway my counselling technique would just consist of saying ‘And how did that make you feel? Are you able to talk about that?’ while handing over even more cats and Cadbury’s Heroes, and that it was therefore an invalid objection.

Still, if you think you’re up for either of these challenges, I believe Dr Bowler and myself are back in Main Theatres over Christmas and New Year, so along with the rest of the team we’ll be able to answer any further questions then. The closing date for applications is January 9th, 2023.


Main: Part of the regular dog walk.

Top inset: Another part of the regular dog walk, with the winter sun looking nice.

Lower inset: Not Christmas until these two old friends turn up.

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