I never used to go to the doctor, at one stage it was twenty years between visits, now I am quite the regular. For some reason each time I go the Doctor runs out of things to say or do, and always ends up deciding that blood tests would be a good idea. I guarantee you, I could go in there for an ingrowing toe-nail and I am sure that I would be sent for half a dozen blood tests. I have a creeping suspicion that there’s more to it than meets the eye, maybe some weird blood letting lust, anyway my last Docs visit was no different, as my slot came to an end the Doctor said I think we should have a set of Blood tests.
I pointed out I had only had a full set a few months ago, The Doctor checked, no, it was February, no harm in doing them again. I am booked in to see the practice nurse, I study her quite intently, a rather dusky young maiden, of indian heritage with a rather interesting set of tattoos which I find fascinating. We chat, we talk about India & Goa, a regular holiday destination for her, I notice this time she has a duck blue nail varnish, I find my mind contemplating the contrast between the pastel of her nails and the rich brown of her skin, meanwhile she is sucking out the life-blood from me, four phials of deep red blood today. I wonder why they need so much, surely its more use to me than the NHS.
The blood letting is a painless exercise, but then, then Surgery protocols and technology are another matter, all done for a reason, but all quite nuts and it deteriorates from there. I have my blood tests on thursday, results usually take a few days to come back. Thus when I receive a text message a mere 24hrs later asking me to call the surgery to discuss the results I am a little spooked. So I call, then the surgery books me the first appointment, for a weeks time. Now, if I was suffering from some dreadful malady a week without knowing might be a blessing, but to be honest I don’t look at it that way. If I am crook I wanna know. Last time I had tests I the receptionist wouldn’t give me the results, they then when on to explain they had not been trained in counselling. That as you might imagine gave me the willies, hell was I going to need counselling? Anyway eventually the results came through, all fine the fuss was just protocol, the receptionists will not tell you results, only the GP, I understand.
So, this time round getting a text message even if after one day, wasn’t going to rile me, I knew the score, they always did this, I would have to see the Doctor. appointment booked. No problem, I’m not going to stress myself, until a second text comes, asking me to contact the surgery, before I manage a call a third text, then a fourth in rapid succession. Now I am spooked, four messages, this may not be good. I call the practice again, they again give me the spiel, can’t discuss your results over the phone, you need to see the Doctor. I say I am uncomfortable waiting a week. I am told there is a weekend surgery, come in the morning and the Doctor will give me the results.
Over night I do the worst case scenario, right, who do I leave my possessions to, I haven’t written a will better get on to it. My ex will get my pension, could I leave it to a dogs home or something? Maybe I need to write up a quick bucket list. I better book a holiday, maybe I should just get a one way ticket, I convince myself to think calm, decide it is a que sera sera situation, lets deal with it when it arises, I go to bed, watch old movies and plan my last days on Planet Earth.
Saturday morning comes round I trudge to the Doctors, its packed out and frenetic, apparently the Doctor is sick, they are trying to get a locum in. The Doctor is sick, that’s unfortunate, same thing happened last time i was here, gosh it doesn’t sound like this lot are in the best of health themselves, still maybe that means they are a little more sympathetic.
Until a Doctor is found, at least one well enough to come to work, we are told we can see the practice nurse who will deputise where possible, I ask if the Nurse can give me my test results. Yes absolutely, no problem, it can be done quickly, I am told. Three quarters of an hour later the receptionist calls me into a room, I am sorry the nurse has said she will not be able to give you the results, you need to discuss them with your Doctor. I begin put two and two together, making eight. I think there’s something wrong, the Nurse cannot or will not tell me. Now I really want to know those results.
The receptionist says the Doctor wants to speak to you over the telephone now. This ratchets up my paranoia another notch. We go to a computer in the reception area, I try to peer at the screen display, it means nothing to me, percentages and unintelligible figures and medical-speak. Meanwhile the receptionist phones the Doctor, I try to understand their conversation, it also makes no sense. Then the receptionist tries to set up a remote connection so that the GP, who is I know not where able to remotely view my medical records. Meanwhile the world is coming into the surgery to be seen, we are interrupted every minute or two by another patient arriving. I am told to take a seat whilst the connection is set up, it turns to ten minutes, the receptionist is having some IT issues.
After a few minutes the connection seems to be getting closer, then an old chap, with very broken English who’s also waiting for attention comes to the desk and hands his mobile to the receptionist, I don’t understand says the old chap. It turns out he’s on the phone to his service provider and has a problem with his mobile internet connection, the receptionist then stops working on my IT issue and takes the call from the mans mobile service, he then proceeds to talk through with the fixer on the other end, the conversation seems to go on forever.
It strikes me that though laudable this old fellow gets his phone working I am after all in a Doctors Surgery, trying to find out if I am going to die or not, maybe my problem is more pressing than the old fella’s. I snap in the most English way possible, I stand up I go the receptionist, I come over all Basil Fawlty, ” I’m sorry, I thought this was a Doctors Surgery, have I come to the wrong place, do you actually fix mobiles here ? If only I had known, I would have brought mine” As soon as I’ve said it I wish I hadn’t, the old boy looks at me, he has tired worn out eyes and he looks sad. I go back to my seat, Basil is put away until another day.
In time, a great deal of time the errant phone now functions correctly, the old boy can surf the net whilst he to waits for his appointment, the receptionist returns to remote networking, my diagnosis moves inevitably closer.
A few minutes later Finally the Doctor is remotely looking at my records, I am handed a mobile phone, the Doctor greets me, How are you today ? I feel like saying look you bloody idiot, why ask me how I am, thats what I am here for – you to tell me, just tell me how long I’ve got – I don’t verbalise, ” Fine thank-you” I reply, well whats the point………………….
We have a five minute conversation, all the results came back normal, I wasn’t going to die, just yet anyway.
I leave the surgery having managed to wind myself up on multiple occasions, say idiotic things and have worse thoughts. This is when I am comparatively well, I do hope I don’t actually get anything seriously unpleasant in the near future, chances are Basil Fawlty will come marching right back in and make a scene.
A word to the wise, don’t go to the Doctors unless you really have to, the place is absolutely full of sick people, including the Doctors and they just want to suck all your blood out.