Thursday, 25 October 2007

The Leg He Loved.

The doctor is sat behind his desk, looking down at Michael Johnson's file.

Michael, a retired miner from Barnsley is sat directly in front of him, he is nervous, and a bit reluctant to talk about his embarrassing problem.

Doctor: Michael when did your leg start shaking?

Michael: Well, if you read my notes doctor, which you have got in front of you, you would know that I have had a shaking leg since I was a young lad, roughly about the time Shakin’ Stevens was popular.

Doctor: So, that’s about the early eighties?

Michael: Correct doctor.

Doctor: It’s been very hard for you, hasn’t it?

Michael nods his head in agreement with the doctor’s statement.

Doctor: Just talk us through what happened. I need to know so that I can get to grips with the condition. (Raises his eyebrows, looks perplexed) You see Michael (exhales, then looks up at him), you see (pauses to consider his next statement), it’s not something I’ve ever come across before. (Removes his glasses, rubs his eyes). I’ll be honest with you; it’s not easy, not even for me, to know what to do with your leg.

Michael: (Nervously starts to tell the story) Well doctor, I was watching ‘Top of Pops’ and that’s when I saw him.

Doctor: Who?

Michael: Shakin’ Stevens.

Doctor: Right, right, sorry, carry on.

Michael: I just really took to what he was doing, the dancing was just great, I mean mind blowingly brilliant. It was all that shaking, of his limbs. I thought wow; I’ve never seen that before.

Doctor: What happened next Michael?

Michael: I got up, out of my chair and copied what Shakin’ Stevens was doing. I started shaking, my legs, and my arms all of me shook. I was literally ‘all shook up’.

Doctor: Ah ha. You were all shook up?

Michael: Yes doctor, I was all shook up. But, it was after the song had finished that the problem started, my leg just wouldn’t stop shaking. The rest of my body stopped, but my left leg continued to shake.

Doctor: So, then what happened?

Michael: Well, I couldn’t go down the pit after that, because it was shaking constantly. My wife took me to the hospital, they put a calliper on it and it shook its way out of the calliper.

Doctor: And then what?

Michael: They put plaster on it.

Doctor: A plaster cast?

Michael: Yes doctor, a plaster cast and still, give me your hand (reaches for the doctor’s hand).

Doctor: (The doctor refuses to take Michael’s hand) Michael, I can see your leg is still shaking, it’s okay. So, that’s almost thirty years you’ve had your leg in a plaster cast, and still it shakes?

Michael: Yes, doctor. Look they said you would be able to help me.

Doctor: (The doctor pauses for thought as he considers his response, he closes Michael’s file) Yes Michael, I can help you. We will amputate that shaky leg of yours, it’s the only way. That’s the bad news. The good news is …

Michael: I suspected that it would have to go. That shaky leg of mine has ruined my life doctor. For a while you know I was able to make money in the Northern clubs and bars as a Shakin’ Stevens impersonator but then Shakin’ Stevens career took a nose dive, and so did mine.

Sorry, did you say there was some good news, doctor?

Doctor: Yes Michael I did. (The doctor smiles) Michael, (he reaches for Michael’s right hand and pats it in a supportive way) I’ve already got you a new leg.

Michael: Thank you doctor.

Doctor: It’s not what you think. Nurse! (The doctor calls out to the nurse who is next door) Nurse! Show Michael his new leg.

The nurse shows Michael a photo of his new leg.

Michael: Wow! Hang on ….. That’s not a fake leg …. It’s real.

Doctor: I know Michael; we’re going to make medical history. You are going to be the first man to have a leg transplant.

Five years later ….. Michael is sat in a Porsche car with the doctor in the car park at Royal Free hospital.

Michael: Doctor, I offered to buy you a year’s supply of stethoscopes and still you won’t tell me the name of the donor, why???

Doctor: You’ve changed Michael. You’ve become cocky, arrogant, you’re not the kind man you were five years ago.

Michael: Look I had a shaky leg, I was broken inside. But, it was you doctor, you put me back together again. Look I just want the file doctor.

Doctor: I’m not giving you the file Michael. I have told you time and time again. I cannot divulge any information about your donor.

Michael: This Porsche is for you doctor, if you just give me her name and address.

Doctor: If I do that will you leave me and my wife alone?

Michael: Yes doctor, you will never see me again.

Doctor: And the Porsche? I get to keep the Porsche?

Michael: Yes doctor, you get to keep the Porsche. Okay. Her address….

Five years previously, shortly after the transplant.

Michael’s ex wife: When Michael came home with his new leg we were all ecstatic. It was a special day for the family. My mother even baked him his favourite cake – Victoria Sponge. When the bandages came off I was in a state of euphoria, at last he had a leg that didn’t shake. But, that euphoria soon changed when I realised that his new leg was from a woman. I was furious, especially when he became more interested in her leg; I mean his leg than my legs.

He was always touching it, shaving it the bath, putting my expensive moisturising lotions on it. He even wore one of my skirts, once, with heals and stood there admiring it in the mirror. What a bastard!

In the end I left him.

Doctor: Michael became very rich as a result of his new woman leg. The media were fascinated by him. I personally think, he became arrogant. He says that he just fell in love with the leg. He kept saying to me ….

Michael: Doctor, my new leg is not complete unless I find the rest of its body.

Doctor: In the end I gave in. I couldn’t stand the bombardment of phone calls through the dead of night. I didn’t want my wife to divorce me and believe me it was getting to that stage. So I gave him her file.

She was a ballerina, a perfectionist. A young woman who decided to sacrifice her career and dedicate the rest of her life to charity work. She was sick of the limelight.

Ballerina: The pressure was so intense, that I decided the only way I could get out of this life of mine, was to let my leg go. I thought if my leg could bring genuine happiness to someone else then why not.

Doctor: But, your legs already bring so much happiness. You have thousands of fans around the world that love your legs. What about all of those appreciative audiences around the world. How will they feel? It’s like a betrayal. Why stop now?

Ballerina: Doctor, I’ve had enough. Please take my leg and give it to someone who really needs it, I implore you.

Doctor: So, he found her. He travelled four thousand miles around the world and found her, in a school in Africa, teaching kids how to read. I believe they are now very happy together.

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