Liam Withnail on the Western General Hospital

As part of our performer's city guide, the stand-up gave us the lowdown on living in Edinburgh (with inflammatory bowel disease)

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Liam Withnail
Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear
Published 01 Aug 2023

Where to stay: Ward 75, the Edinburgh Western General

Locals refer to this as “The Gastroenterology Department” – it's a charming spot on the third floor of Edinburgh Western General Hospital. All rooms are en suite (that’s one of the benefits of bowel disease, they don’t make anyone share toilets with you). And the staff are on call 24/7 to make you comfortable/administer life saving medicine. Each room enjoys a view overlooking the hospital car park, which is particularly beautiful at sunset. Rooms are equipped with one of those electronic beds with buttons, which is quite frankly more fun than it ought to be. Wake up calls are mandatory, but you’ll find you're giving blood at 6am. 

What to eat: Love breakfast in bed? Well the room service is exquisite, with a selection of meals brought to your room daily. Careful though, bowel disease calls for a low fibre diet. No grains, nuts or wheat. You can however eat as much mashed potato as you like. And guess what? It’s free. Your visitors (if you have friends) will likely bring you grapes (annoying), chocolate (great) or crisps (also great). But you might not be able to eat them. (Annoying).

Western General Hospital, photo by M J Richardson

Things to do: There’s too many activities to list – so here are some of our favourites

  • Lie Down

  • Sit

  • Walk in a little circle around your room

  • Stare out the window

  • Watch terrestrial television

  • Did we say sit? Well sit again

  • Start reading that book you’ve been telling people you’ve read

  • Give up on the book and scroll social media until bedtime

  • Play with the bed buttons

  • SIT

All in all, a fantastic ten day trip with only the slight peril of potential surgery! Don’t forget to pack souvenirs – bedpans make a great gift for all the family!