John and his wife
John and his wifeImage by: John Davies
John and his wife
15 July 2021

John Hilary Davies: The Longest Two Minutes

John Hilary Davies
7 minutes read time

‘I’d got there with only two minutes to spare having planned my time of arrival with Military precision. I always stopped off at Swansea West Services to alleviate my bladder of every last drop of urine and making sure on the short walk from the car park to the ‘Gent’s’ that I jiggled around quite a bit, not far off completing ‘star jumps’ in an attempt to extract the copious amounts of gas that always seemed to gather around my prostate. I often glimpsed the customers, innocently sipping their lattes in Costa Coffee and staring dumbfounded in my direction. Watching me pirouetting down the thoroughfare, back firing like a ‘Massey-Ferguson’ and leaving behind me a trail of methane that any prize milker would be proud of. Their mouths agape and their cups tilting in mid-lift, thinking that they were witnessing a scene from ‘Billy Elliott’!

Checking my watch before allowing myself to guzzle the 500 millilitres of ‘Adam’s Ale’ exactly forty five minutes prior to my time on Lin 2 or 4. Now suitably de-gassed, devoid of the slightest trace of urine and utterly de-stressed I was able to casually stroll back past the coffee drinkers, their mouths still wide open and the latte dripping down onto the Formica topped tables.

I was in high spirits as I greeted the lady at the entrance to The Radiotherapy Department. She was P.P.E.’d to the hilt but her radiant smile of welcome was still clearly visible beyond the mask, putting the grin of ‘The Joker’ to shame.

Then to the reception lady, “Good Morning,” she welcomed me, “and how are you today, were you here yesterday, I didn’t see you?” Spoken in a truly genuine manner and with a beaming smile. On this occasion the smile not partly concealed by the dreaded P.P.E. but apparent for all to enjoy. For she was safely cocooned behind a sheet of laminated glass protecting her from any nasties that might have battered their way through my triple layered mask.

“I’m very well thank you, all the better for seeing you” I flirted, whilst scanning my unique bar code to announce my arrival.

“Oh and I was lying under the Zapper as early as 8.15 yesterday morning, so you were probably still tucked up in bed.”

I chuckled as she replied that she was and headed off towards the waiting room, passing the gents close to the entrance and glancing longingly in that direction wishing that I could pop in there and fill the pan. My bladder was at bursting point but thankfully within the next two minutes I would be getting zapped and then I could waddle over, like Donald Duck, to the little room of ecstatic relief.

I sat down on one of the comfy armchairs clenching those muscles that I was supposed to train and I immediately wished that I’d remained standing - the pressure against my bladder had intensified.

‘Just keep still Jonny-boy, you can do this. Concentrate on somewhere dry and barren like The Sahara Desert or Ayers Rock’ I thought, tightening my inner thighs like a vice crushing a walnut and gritting my teeth. I checked the clock on the wall, ‘Only about 30 seconds to go and I’ll be summoned. You can do this no problem. You can do it!”

I briefly scanned the waiting room and soon spotted those in the exact state of bladder capacity as mine. Legs crossed, lack of blood from the tips of their fingers as they momentarily removed their hands from their grip on the arms of their chairs to quickly wave at me and erratic tapping of the foot still remaining on the floor.

Others not in such an advanced state were happily chatting or reading and their waves of recognition were more relaxed and outlandish.

The narrowed eyes above the mask surveilled the corridor like a sniper and soon I spotted the young radiographer walking from the direction Lin 4.

“ Fan-bloody-tastic” I nearly screamed out and the only thing that prevented me from doing cartwheels amongst my fellow waiters was the absolute certainty that I would spray them all.

Still shuffling and in the process of jumping up in readiness for the quick dash to the Zapping room, the radiographer called out the name, “John Thomas, Mr John Thomas?”

Nobody acknowledged!

‘John Thomas, Mr John Thomas, who the hell is John Thomas. That’s wrong it’s John DAVIES. It’s my turn, it’s spot on half past ten. My time. It’s all planned!’

I raised my hand like a child in year 3, squirming around on my chair “Don’t you mean John DAVIES? Mr John DAVIES” I gingerly pleaded in a high pitched voice similar to that of Minnie Mouse.

“No. Just a slight delay Mr DAVIES it’s your turn next. John Thomas, Mr John Thomas”

‘Oh my God! I have no grip left, the walnut will escape...

Please don’t answer, please let there be a mistake, let it be me, oh please let it be me!’

My head spun around like a pigeon rapidly searching for whoever or wherever John Thomas might be. I started to perspire. He’d stolen my spot!

“MrJohn Thomas” she beckoned once more...Still no response...

‘Yes, he’s not here, it’s going to be me.’

No such luck! The man sitting directly in front of where the young radiographer was standing, only a matter of feet away from her, nonchalantly looked up at her in confirmation of his identity and began to rise with the pace of a tortoise.

He was obviously disabled, as he walked, no shuffled, with the aid of a stick and most definitely, in other not so extreme circumstances, I would like to think that I would have thought more compassionate thoughts about him than the ones filling my mind at that precise moment.

My lips had no more skin to chew and must surely be battered and bruised on the inside where they met my gums. My pelvic floor felt as if it had been trampled over by the whole of The Roman Empire and I’d crossed The Sahara a dozen times and scaled Ayres Rock the same.

“John Davies, Mr...” I was up and across the room before the second John DAVIES could be uttered and sprinting towards Lin4 with the pace of Lynford Christie

The red barrier tape was across the entrance! “Oh No, no, no no and I came to an abrupt halt upon hearing the words that I just did not want to hear.

“Just sit there for a few minutes John, the other patient won’t be long” pointing to the chairs by the ‘review room’.

I did as instructed, legs crossed, palms perspiring and gripping the underneath of the chair so tightly that my knuckles were white.

“You’re nearly there John, you’re nearly there mate, nothing can possibly frustrate this anymore...”

I could hear Lin 4 come to the end of its cycle. I could hear the radiographer speaking to the patient,

“There we are Mr Thomas all done”

“Yes, yes, yes” as I uncrossed my legs and allowed some blood to reach my finger tips.

‘He’ll be out now.’

No chance!

The radiographer was being bombarded with a plethora of what appeared to be very inane and basicquestions.

‘Why the hell is he asking that, surely he should know that. Why didn’t he ask that at reception? Oh my God, come on for goodness sake!’

She very patiently and professionally answered each one.

At that point I had lost the will to live and I was chewing on the architrave bordering the door to the patients review office.

“Perhaps you could put all your belongings into your jacket pocket and maybe put it on out in the waiting area to allow the next patient to have his treatment.”

No response to that hint that perhaps another patient was actively poised for his or her turn. Perhaps a patient who’s bladder was by now more than amply hanging away from his prostate, maybe a patient who’s bladder was resting on the tiled floor and would have to be carried into the treatment theatre with the aid of a fork lift truck!

But still more questions, still more replies but with a bit more firmness and from the volume of their speech obviously nearing the exit.They came into view, the radiographer gently guiding Mr John Thomas towards the taped barrier which she didn’t have to remove for my benefit. For as soon as she nodded to me I shot up, bursting bladder in hand and limbo-danced beneath the temporary obstruction, simultaneously removing my jacket and kicking off my flip-flops.

Another lovely radiographer was awaiting my arrival and as I was pulling down my shorts and hopping onto the bed I said to her, still in my Minnie Mouse voice,

“You must deal with some very needy people?”

Her response did make me feel a tad guilty but when all’s said and done it was quite right.

“Not everyone can cope and understand things as quickly as others”

Her next statement though was also so very true, “but I suppose that’s no consolation. Especially when one has a full bladder!”

Perhaps my heart quite visibly beating and pushing my T shirt out towards her like a love-struck cartoon character — the pitch of my voice between gritted teeth and my white knuckles gripping the said T shirt were the giveaway signs that instigated her last remark but then again it was probably just her wealth of experience.


41 Gas Works Alley ———Check✅

23/12/1950— — — Check✅

“Be back soon John, keep still and let’s hope there’s no gas this time!”