For some reason, in the shower this morning I had a flashback to 1985.
I had been on tour, and at some point a mosquito bite on my leg became infected, turning into a massive and quite deep abscess. What we called a “boila” or boil. This was so big that when it was open and cleaned out, I could get my forefinger into it up to the knuckle. And later it had three metres of wick inserted so it would heal from the inside out. It took weeks to heal. For many years afterwards I had a hollow where it used to be in my calf muscle. I could poke my finger into the depression.
Anyway, we were in the Vonavona Lagoon heading for Muda at the time, so we called into the clinic at the hospital. I saw a young nurse who examined the wound and dressed it, then determined that I needed an intramuscular injection of antibiotic. She told me to drop my shorts and bend over, which I did.
For what seemed a long time I waited for the jab in my backside. Nothing happened.
I heard muffled gasps behind me, and turned round.
“Waswe?” I asked. That is Pijin for “what’s going on?”
The young nurse was sitting back in her chair, tears streaming down her face, gasping for breath as she tried to muffle her laughter behind two fists crammed into her mouth. The syringe and needle were on the desktop.
She struggled for breath, laughed some more, then after a major effort, gained control and managed gasp out “Asi blong iu waet olsem beli blong fis!”
She collapsed again into helpless laughter.
My bum was as white as a fish’s belly. This was apparently the first white bum this young nurse had encountered and she lost all professional reserve at the sight of it.
I totally loved her at that moment.