Don’t you just love doctor’s surgeries? No? Join the queue (for an appointment). They’re not quite as bad as they used to be though. You would ring up for an appointment & the receptionist would instantly jump on the defensive. “What’s that? Little Jimmy needs to see the doctor? Why? What’s wrong with him?” “Well” you would say, “That’s a personal matter between Jimmy, his doctor & I”. “Yes but”, she would continue, “If you tell me what the problem is, then maybe I can get him to see the doctor sooner”. Her sly reply would suggest that, if you did tell all, thereby increasing the surgery’s gossip quota for the day, you might actually get to see a doctor. So you would go on, trying to explain little Jimmy’s sensitive problem in as few words as possible. Then you would get all manner of questions & suggestions, such as, “Have you tried putting ointment on it”? Or “Did you give him ‘X’ tablet to see if that helped”? All the while your appointment chances diminishing rapidly, while she, with less knowledge than a pharmacist’s son’s ex girlfriend, would come up with solutions that you had already tried at least 24 hours ago.
These days of course, they are much better than that. If you ring up at exactly the right moment, say two minutes after the surgery opens, (because the phone is still on ’emergency’ calls only up till then), Then you MAY actually have a chance of seeing someone that day. I say ‘someone’ as, you probably won’t see a doctor, but you could get to see a ‘nurse practitioner’, or they might make you an appointment with a doctor (at least two weeks later), or they may even ring another doctor or specialist who knows what you are talking about. Why can’t you have an appointment (with a doctor) when you need one? When you’re actually ill? Or is it, like I have always suspected, that they make you wait 2-4 weeks in hope that you will get over whatever you have in the meantime?
Am I going on a bit? Does it seem like a bit of a ‘sore point’ yet? Yes well the cream didn’t work, so I had to try something. How about EARS though? In 1997 I woke up one morning with a completely blocked (deaf) ear. For anyone that doesn’t know what that’s actually like, put your finger up to something noisy & see how much sound you can hear through your fingertip. Nothing? You surprise me. But that’s what (I imagine) total deafness is like. The same can be said of total blindness, (how much you can see through that same fingertip). It was the oddest & scariest thing. Sound & vision are both three-dimensional senses & only half of either just doesn’t work the same. Losing half of your hearing or sight, is like being 75% deaf or blind. (I have tried both, not by choice & if it ever happens to you, you may hear or see, what I mean). The surgery actually helped then. “Put some warm olive oil in your ear, twice a day & come back in a week” They said, going on to say that, if it didn’t work, they would syringe it. I did what they said. It didn’t help. A week later they syringed it like they said. It helped. A piece of earwax the length & shape of a cigarette butt, came out of my ear & sound went back in. The relief was palpable, immediate & made me want to jump for joy. I didn’t. But I could’ve. Things have changed though, first it went to two weeks of ‘olive oiling’ yourself & now it’s either a whole month or a whole bottle, whichever takes the longer.
I loved the surgery after that. Well for a few weeks anyway. What really rubbed me up the wrong way (and it wasn’t the embrocation), was their attitude to lateness. One day I was late for an appointment. It was nothing really, just a few seconds late, maybe 10 or 12. They told me to come back next week. “But” I protested in painful desperation, “I’m only just past the time, surely someone could see me now, I’m not that late”? “No, you’re not that late, but you are late. We operate a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ here, if you are past your appointment time, even by just a few seconds, then you must make another appointment, when you will be seen, but only if you arrive before your appointment time”! Then, as if to rub salt in the wound that I had actually come to have treated, she said, “Your time is not important, ours is”! “Yes” I said loudly, to everyone else in the waiting area as well as her, “But I am in pain, you are not”! She ignored me. I changed surgeries after that. I was even told once that it would be ‘illegal’ for them to give me the phone number of their in-house pharmacy. What? These days though, I have learned to ‘bite the bullet’, put up & shut-up & go along with the crowd, baa-ing as I go. Doctor’s surgeries, who needs ’em? WE DO, I hear you cry. HA, yes maybe, but one day I won’t. One day it will be too late for me & then I shall have the last laugh. RIP me!
Disclaimer: While based on my actual experiences of medical care down the years, it is just that. Some words have been added for dramatic effect. This post is (loosely) based on many different visits, surgeries & events & is meant to make you laugh (the best medicine supposedly) & is only for entertainment purposes. I love the NHS & all it’s doctors, nurses & other staff deserve a very big pat-on-the-back. If it ever stops, I will be sorry to see it go. You could say my life depends on it, but hey, lets not get that heavy. Heavy? Obese even? Now there’s another story…