With hospitals competing hard for business, I see the day fast approaching when their marketing departments may start working overtime to get customers.
In my very vivid imagination, the phone rang at home this morning. “Who was it?” I asked my mother, as she put down the receiver white faced and with saucer eyes, like she’d seen a ghost. “A telemarketer from the new hospital down the road,” she whispered.
“You seem upset, what did she want?”
“She said if I’d come to the hospital immediately, there was a twenty five percent discount on liver transplants and they would remove my hernia for free.”
“Your liver’s fine,” I said, “and you don’t have a hernia mother.”
“She sounded positive I had one,” cried my mother, “I always wondered whether that pain down there….”
“Mother you don’t have a hernia,” I said firmly.
“She also told me she could halve the rate on a bypass.”
“What did you tell her?” I asked, furious.
“I told her my heart was fine. But she invited me for a discounted checkup next Valentine’s Day.”
“That’s a sales gimmick!” I exclaimed angrily. “Checking hearts on Valentine’s Day.
What else will these hospitals think of next?”
The doorbell rang, and my mother opened the door to a youngish man, a stethoscope round his neck. “What are you marketing?” I asked with a grimace.
“Health and long life,” said the doctor.
“I’ve got plenty of that,” I said.
Don’t tempt fate son,” whispered my mother, as she looked fearfully at the doctor.
“Do you still run up the stairs like you did ten years back?” asked the doctor briskly.
“He never could ten years ago!” sniffed my mother.”
“That’s because I spent my energy carrying your dog up mother or was it your cats?”
“Animalo Allergica,” said the doctor, happily writing onto his pad.
“Oh doctor you are so clever,” said my mother, looking at the smart fellow with won over eyes. “I always wondered why he hated my little Tommy.”
“I hope it hasn’t developed into a tumour,” said the doc seriously. “We have a fifteen percent rebate for brain surgery, and if we can close the deal right now, we have a tie up with the veterinary hospital and have your dog treated free, or is it a cat?”
“Where am I?” I asked my mother, as I lay on the stretcher and felt myself being wheeled out of the operation theatre. “What am I doing here?”
“You tried to push that charming doctor out of the house,” said my mother, “but you fell.
Luckily there was a ten percent discount on finger amputations that day.”
“Noooo!” I screamed clutching my bandaged stump.
“Don’t worry,” said the doctor appearing from nowhere, “He’s entitled to 50% off from the psychiatric department…!”
Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at [email protected]m