Monday, October 22, 2012
He was in the G.P’s waiting room. Waiting.
He should have come weeks ago, but it was such a trial. Phone for a specific doctor, the nice doctor, the one who noticed that you were actually in the room, and you would be told to phone after 10 for an appointment the following week, then you would phone, bang on 10, and it would be engaged. You would hit redial, frantically, only to find that when you finally got through, all the appointments were gone.
No, what you had to do was phone early for an emergency appointment and hope for the best. His wife always got to see the nice doctor, he never did, but he lived in hope. So he phoned. The reception asked if it was urgent. He hesitated. He hated this question. Clearly, it was not urgent, or he wouldn’t be phoning the GP, he would be en route to the hospital........it wasn’t as f he had sliced off a digit or was having a heart attack. Still, if he said it was non urgent he wouldn’t get in, and he would have to go through all that phoning for an appointment next week rigmarole and miss the boat, and then he would have to go through it all again tomorrow.
“Yes”, he said, as gravely as he could, “it is urgent”.
He was told to present himself at 9, and he did, and here was, at 10, waiting......waiting.......waiting.
He was a bit conflicted. He should have come at least 2 weeks ago. On the other hand, he didn’t feel as bad now as he had done yesterday, or a few days before. He wondered if he really needed to be there. He had consulted Dr Google and knew that the only thing that was bothering him was a bit of fatigue and a susceptibility to anxiety attacks. The truth was, he was hoping for a couple of weeks off to recharge his batteries and regain some moral heft. He felt a bit of a fraud. Roger Hynd never suffered from anxiety attacks.
Every time a patient came out of the nice doctors room he would implore the universe......me next, me next, it has to be me next, but it never was. Every time someone came out of the other doctors room he would implore the universe, no, not me, it can’t be me....that child should be seen before me. It added a little excitement to proceedings. He could never work out how the system worked, people arrived long after him and were seen, whereas he always had to wait for hours.
He didn’t much care for ancient copies of National Geographic or Golfers Monthly, or even Caravanning Today, so he was grateful for his smart phone, which enabled him to while away the hours, and, thanks to the miracle of twitter, keep abreast goings on in the world, like howpacked the tube trains were, or how many hot babes there were on the Number 50 bus in Birmingham.......all of which is crucial to the well being of a man sitting in a waiting room in South Wales.
The other doctor came out, and called his name. Oh dear.
He presented himself in the room. The doctor, as was his wont, said hello in a cheery fashion, while avoiding all eye contact.....choosing instead to stare intently at his PC screen while enjoying some mid morning tea and cake. He marveled at this mans lack of social, never mind professional graces and waited until the doc was ready to converse. He looked idly around the sparse room. The desk, the bed, the scales, the nearly bare wall, decorated only by an opticians chart. Why the hell was there an opticians chart?
Finally. he was asked what ailed him. He spoke: extreme breathlessness, tiredness, heavy chest, numbness in extremities. He explained that he had done his research and it was all to do with anxiety. He didn’t actually feel anxious, but he did have a stressful and busy job, so supposed that his symptoms were physical manifestations of an emotional malaise that his ego wouldn’t allow him to admit to.
The doctor didn’t say anything, but left the room and returned a few moments later with a huge tablet and a glass of water, then left again. He took the tablet. It took some swallowing. The doctor returned, asked if he had taken the tablet. He confirmed that he had taken it, and commented that it was a bloody big pill, only to be told that he should have dissolved it in the water.
“Well”, he thought, “you might have advised me of that in the first place........you might even have put the fucking tablet in the fucking water”.
The doc asked him to open wide, he did (did he moonlight as a dentist, as well as an optician?) the doc sprayed something horrible under his tongue, and said, that’s going to give you a severe headache in a minute, then he left the room again. By now he had guessed that the doc considered him to be poorly, but was keeping it to himself, for some reason, and, strangely, he really didn’t feel like asking. He didn’t actually want to know.
The doc took him to another room and asked him to wait there. After a few minutes a receptionist with a concerned look on her face peeked in on him and asked him how he was feeling; then, before he could answer, said
“You must be really shocked”
“Well”, he thought, “I am now!”
He continued to wait. He phoned work. He said he would be in later than expected, as he had no idea what time he would be out of the damn quacks, who seemed intent on playing silly buggers. In due course, a hale and hearty para medic arrived, ordered him into a wheelchair, and wheeled him out into a waiting ambulance. Fuck, he thought as he was wheeled through the waiting room, in front of everyone, this is a bit of a show up.