Many years ago I was in hospital for a minor operation. The tiny ward had room for four but there was only one other occupant; an old man who was very ill. A nurse asked me if I could chat to him to ease his final hours. I am hard of hearing and one of my hearing aids had run out of juice, so I said to the nurse I’d be delighted to oblige if someone could nip out and get me a battery. She asked if it was an NHS aid and I said no, but the batteries were standard. “No, we can’t help you if it’s a private hearing aid,” she said, forgetting that she
had asked me
for the favour.