Tuesday, 6 January 2009

South African Army elbow stress test

Another bitterly cold Sunday...the heater in my flat is broken ;the heater in my car just can't cope with the snow and ice;and finally when I get to work,the air-con in the Unit can't cope with the weather either.Its 15*C in the Unit.
So I am sitting miserably in my consulting room , listening to my iPod , wrapped in a blanket and praying for a hot,feverish child to examine so that at least I can warm my hands...

I am also trying to get my metabolism restarted-I have been sucking on oxygen for 10 minutes and Julian has made me my 'HeartStarter' morning brew - a cappuccino with 4 shots of espresso and 12 spoons of brown sugar.

Its not really working.

'Alright then Lucien ?' says Julian. 'Here's a patient for you to see then...chop-chop...it'll warm you up!'

A young, tall, deeply tanned , very fit and good looking surfer-dude follows Julian into my room. He is casually dressed in bleached jeans and is only wearing a T-shirt and light linen jacket

( Did I mention - I hate young people! )

He is accompanied by a gorgeous young blond Barbie-doll of a girl,who is also tanned and is fashionably dressed in a faux-fur jacket and a slinky little top, straining her enormous breasts -her nipples look like toothpaste caps.

And like a mongoose with a cobra, I am rather transfixed by the nipples.

I can feel that my red blood corpuscles are starting to get up and trudge around

'Har-umph !!' Julian clears his throat, throws me an evil smirk and flounces out of the room.

"Right...good morning Sir...what can I do for you today then ?"

Well...what it is...obviously...I have been on holiday in Hawaii for three months...surfing and kayaking with my girlfriend here...

"Yersss...right...so unless you have been sent here by my ex-wife to torment me , I'm not really sure what the problem is ?"

Well...Hawaii wasn't the problem...the problem is, is that we flew back to England yesterday...

"Right...so what...you're looking for a referral to the psychiatrist then ?"

No...no...what it is...I was unpacking my suitcase last night and I felt a 'click' in my right elbow

"Okay...was it painful at all ?"

No...no pain...I just heard the one click...but I'm worried because I have to go back to work on Monday...

"Right...what work do you do then ?"

I'm a male model

(Bast*rd ! )

His elbow is not warm or red or swollen.He has a full range-of-movement with no bony pain or discomfort, in his right elbow...ditto his right shoulder and wrist as well. He has no neuro-vascular deficit.

In short , he has a perfectly normal elbow.

(No...I really HATE young people )

"Right ...well Sir...I can't find any thing wrong...I think that you have a mild tendonitis that just flared up last night "

Oh...but what about the 'click' I heard...I'm really worried by that...is there no other test you can do ?

"Well...when I was in the South African Army Medical Services we did have some specialised 'combat-readiness' tests that we used...."

"But I don't normally do them because the patient needs to be really really fit...they are designed to stress a joint to its absolute maximum...but if you could do the three tests then I can give you a gold-plated guarantee that there would be nothing wrong with your elbow "

Ok...well I'm really fit after three months of surfing so I'm willing to do the tests then...

( No honestly...I really hate young people )

"Now because I don't normally do these tests , would you kind if I demonstrated them to my colleagues ?"

No...that's fine mate...

We are joined shortly by the two other South Africans, OumaElna and ChakalakaCindy...and even Ugly Julie, the token miserable New Zealander joins us

"Right Sir...in the first test,I want you to stand up and place your hands together in front of your face ...that's right...just like the Dalai Lama does Sir "

"Now...what you need to do then , is to clap your hands together very fast...in fact you need to clap your hands together 100 times in 60 seconds...okay ?"


Tongue slightly protruding and with a bit of a squint he starts to clap and successfully manages to complete the task in time...amazing!

"Well done Sir...any pain in your elbow ? Did it click at all ?"

No , it feels good

"Okay...in the next test I want you to place your hand on your stomach . Now...you need to rub your belly-button and then lift your hand up and over your head and pat the back of your head...like this...okay...and you need to do 80 of those movements in 60 seconds...and ...Go!"


Again he is able to complete the task in time
Again he has no pain in his elbow.

"Right..the third and final task is to combine the first two tests..."

At this point OumaElna says that her pager has just gone off, and she needs to go and operate , and choking back a tear, she leaves the room.

"Right then Sir...so...you need to clap your hands...and then rub your belly-button... and then tap the back of your head...okay...and you need to do 60 of those movements in 60 seconds....and...Go!"


Again he successfully completes the test. Really amazing .I've never seen that done before.
Again,he has no pain in his elbow.

"Well...that's excellent Sir...I can guarantee that there is absolutely nothing wrong with your elbow...you have demonstrated that you have complete pain-free range-of-movement in every possible plane...honestly...go home and relax now."

Wow...you South Africans are really thorough , he says putting on his jacket

"Oh jah"

So you were in the Army ? he asks, looking at my middle-aged, overweight and frankly distressed body encased as it is in a dishevelled scrub suit.

"Oh jah "

"We had a unique regimental motto you know "

Oh yes...what was it then?

"The devil makes work for idle hands"


  1. Belter, absolute belter. Can I use it?

  2. brilliant. thanks for the laugh.