Providing a sample proves the acid test

Charlie Adley
Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

Can I help you?” The brown-haired woman smiles at me through the hatch at the reception of the laboratory at UCH. I pass her the form my doctor gave me. “Ah lovely. You can leave that with me.”      “Ah, actually, I’m here to pick up a …” For the first time of many that morning, I struggle not to say ‘pot to piss in’, instead blurting out “…a container.”

“Oh. I see. Right, well just a moment, please.”

She turns to a fair-haired woman who also shakes her head.

“Sorry, we don’t know exactly where they are, so can you wait for himself to come back? He’ll only be a minute.”

“Sure, I’m in no rush.”

They disappear and I lean on the hatch shelf. A tired-looking bloke in a blue coat arrives with a large bag full of samples, which he pours through the window into the awaiting box.

Blimey. That’s a lot of work for them.

“Are you being looked after?” asks an older woman who appears at the hatch. She too smiles as I reassure her that I’m fine, they’re looking for – oh never mind.

A few seconds later a postman arrives with a mountainous pile of letters and packages, along with a huge plastic container, which he clasps to his chest as he’s buzzed through the locked doors. Appearing again the other side of the hatch, he lifts the lid on his box and tips countless packages and smaller boxes into a vast plastic tub.

Holy mackerel! This would be comical if it wasn’t so sad. In the few minutes I’ve stood here hundreds of samples have arrived for testing. These workers are under the cosh, but somehow they’re all still a pleasure to deal with, even if they can’t find a …well, y’know.

“Hello there. Can I help you?”

This time it’s a young man with dazzling white teeth.

“No, thanks. They’re looking for a container for me.”

“Ah yes, just a moment.”

To read Charlie’s column in full, please see this week’s Galway City Tribune.