It’s another busy day at Blueshirt General. Doctor Varadkar is doing his rounds, in the company of senior nurse Frances Fitzgerald.
Varadkar: (stopping by patient’s bed and picking up chart): What’s the story with this guy, matron?
Fitzgerald: An incident with a helicopter. Nothing serious: just a bit of whiplash and we think his nose is out of joint.
Vardakar: He looks familiar.
Simon Coveney (for it is he): You know perfectly well who I am, Leo. I’m the man who should be running this hospital instead of you.
Varadkar: Ah, it’s yourself, Simon – I didn’t recognise you with the red face. Yes, I read about your little helicopter mishap in the papers. Very embarrassing.
Coveney: Not as embarrassing as those pictures of you in your novelty socks.
Varadkar: Don’t drag my socks life into this, Simon – it’s not the first time you or your supporters have tried that. Now, show me your tonsils.
Coveney (opening his mouth, impatiently).
Varadkar (peering in): Hmmm. Were you by any chance born with a silver spoon in your mouth? That might explain your impatience with helicopter pilots reluctant to fly you wherever you want to go. (To Fitzgerald) Keep him under observation, matron.
Another ward, later.
Varadkar (to patient): Open wide and say “Ah!”
Patient: Aaah! And then I heard Paul Murphy TD ask somebody: “Will we keep them here for the night?”
Varadkar (to Fitzgerald): Extraordinary. That’s the third one in a row on this ward who’s said that. Have you seen they all raise their right hand while talking? Who the hell are they?
Fitzgerald: They’re all gardaí, apparently. But they claim never to have met before.
Varadkar: It must be some sort of auto-suggestion thing. I wonder is this what happens when people see moving statues?
Patient (raising right hand again): No, your honour. The statue couldn’t move, because it was a prisoner. I heard Paul Murphy saying: “Don’t let that statue out of the car.”
Varadkar (Shaking his head in puzzlement and moving on to the next bed): And who’s this?
Fitzgerald: It’s Nóirín O’Sullivan. You must remember her.
Varadkar: Yes of course. What’s she in for, this time?
Fitzgerald: She had an accident with her own sword.
Varadkar: You mean she fell on it?
Fitzgerald: No. She’s supposed to fall on it, but she keeps missing and hitting the floor instead.
Varadkar (checks watch while pressing index finger to O’Sullivan’s wrist): Wow! Her Pulse system readings are still unbelievable.
O’Sullivan: Don’t worry, doctor. I’ve ordered an internal review.
Varadkar: Speaking of which, open wide and say “Ah!”
O’Sullivan: Aaah! And then I saw Paul Murphy…
Varadkar: Ok, that’s enough. (To Fitzgerald). I’d be very concerned if the symptoms these patients report are not in line with the facts, or with video evidence.
Fitzgerald: Er, you can’t say that.
Varadkar: It’s all right. I’ve taken legal advice on the matter … (He sees an incoming text on his mobile). But you’ll have to excuse me matron – I have an emergency call-out.
Fitzgerald: An accident?
Varadkar: Even more urgent. My PA has found me another celebrity jogging companion. Luckily, I always bring my runners to work.
Pelican House, later. Transfusion staff are surprised by the arrival of Dr Varadkar and a glamorous stranger, both in running shorts.
Varadkar: This is my friend Justin. Where do we go?
Nurse (on verge of swooning): For what?
Vardakar: To donate.
Justin Trudeau: Leo tells me visiting VIPs in Ireland have to be photographed having a pint. But we’re new-generation leaders, so we thought we’d give a pint instead. (He
holds his arm out, smiling). I’m O Negative. (Nurse faints).
Later Dr Varadkar is on a hospital trolley.
Varadkar: (regaining consciousness): What happened?
Simon Harris: Nothing to worry about. You had a weak spell.
Fitzgerald: Plus you had a violent collision with a poll.
Varadkar: You mean a “pole”?
Fitzgerald: No, a poll – Red C. Your approval ratings were lower than you hoped.
Varadkar: I don’t understand.
Harris: That would be the concussion.
Varadkar (sitting up): No, I mean, in general. I’m young and exciting. I go running with celebrities. I’m the new face of Blueshirt General. Why am I not feeling a “bounce” yet.
Harris: Well, I’m only a doctor, not a psychologist. But maybe you’re trying too hard.
Varadkar (regaining his feet, unsteadily): I suppose I can seem a bit much sometimes.
Passing patient (noticing Varadkar struggling to stand up draws Fitzgerald’s attention): He’s off his trolley, nurse!
Fitzgerald (to the patient): Yes he is – I’ve thought the same thing for a long time.