Into the West End to have my photograph taken with Helen’s surgeon, Michael Powell, at the National Hospital. Both of us, at his request, to be dressed as per his favourite Python sketch – the Gumby brain surgeons.
He’s brought along what Gumby kit he can muster, in a carrier bag. So find myself in a most surreal situation; dressed in gumboots, knotted handkerchief and brandishing a surgical steel bradawl above the head of one of Britain’s leading brain surgeons.
After it’s done we remove our gumboots and hankies and he offers to show me the theatre in which H had her op. We go through into a small, narrow room, when he breaks off – ‘Oh dear, there’s someone in here.’ We both peer round the door and there is indeed someone in there, shrouded in hospital green, laid at a 45° angle with a surgeon working in their spotlit head. Powell is quite unfazed; exchanges some boisterous greetings, which are returned from one of the masked figures around the body.