Friday, March 09, 2018

The Doctor and Prime Minister Churchill

May 24, 1940

Winston Churchill is 65. He has just been appointed Prime Minister, and I have become his doctor, not because he wanted one, but because certain members of the Cabinet, who realized how essential he has become, have decided that somebody ought to keep an eye on his health.

It was in these rather ambiguous circumstances that I made my way this morning to Admiralty House* wondering how he would receive me. Though it was noon, I found him in bed reading a document. He went on reading while I stood by the bedside. After what seemed quite a long time, he put down his papers and said impatiently:

"I don't know why they are making such a fuss. There's nothing wrong with me."

He picked up the papers and resumed his reading. At last he pushed his bed-rest away and, throwing back the bed-clothes, said abruptly:

"I suffer from dyspepsia, and this is the treatment."

With that he proceeded to demonstrate to me some breathing exercises. His big white belly was moving up and down when there was a knock at the door, and the P.M. grabbed at the sheet as Mrs. Hill came into the room.

Soon after, I took my leave. I do not like the job, and I do not think the arrangement can last.

- From Churchill: Taken from the Diaries of Lord Moran: The Struggle for Survival 1940-1965

[*Churchill lived at Admiralty House for "some weeks after he became Prime Minister in the Rooms he had occupied as First Lord of the Admiralty."]

No comments: