It’s been 2 weeks since I buggered up my leg whilst under the deluded idea that I was fitter than I actually am. Yesterday, on a rare occasion of deciding to listen to my husband, I went back to the doctors about it.
Last week the fates must’ve been shining upon me, as I managed to not only get a morning appointment but it was with the actual doctor who is head GP at the surgery – I have been there for 12 years and never seen him before!
Not so yesterday, when I wasn’t so lucky…
I rang the surgery at 0800 sharp. For the first 6 calls, an electronic voice told me it had not been possible to connect my call. On the 7th attempt, I was told I was 5th in the queue. At 0813, after holding for 5 minutes, I was told that all slots were filled and I would have to try the Walk-In clinic between 1330 and 1430hrs.
Later, Bman drove me to the Post Office to post a parcel and withdraw some money. We also ventured to Boots to stock up on toiletries. While we were out, we had a gander in SCS to look for a new sofa. I had my granddad’s RAF cane to lean on – not the one he smashed up the bonnet of his neighbour’s car with, when he mistakenly thought he was a member of Sinn Fein… (true story!)
I had to use the disabled lift to go upstairs, but I made Bman come with, so he could share the humiliation.
After that I felt as though I’d been fell walking in the Dales for a weekend. Getting old is tiring. No wonder the elderly sit around all day on park benches or in their living rooms. They can’t be bloody arsed to venture out because it’s too damn nackering.
I felt like my Mother in Law!
At 1330 Bman dropped me off at the surgery while he went to run the gauntlet of Iceland on giro day. I’m not sure who had the worse deal.
The Receptionist had told me quite severely over the phone, not to bother presenting myself at the desk until 1330 or my name would not be taken. So I made sure to get there on the nose. The queue was already out of the door when I arrived and a fug of discontented air hung thick, as everyone grumbled at the system and compared stories of how they had all, seemingly, been 5th in the phone queue at 0800, but still not managed to get an appointment.
Several less desperate people abandoned ship and went home. I stood my ground, albeit on one leg. I was getting in if I had to use my granddad’s cane to take down any weaker ones in the line ahead of me.
Luckily, violence wasn’t necessary. Eventually my name was taken and I got the last seat in the already packed waiting room (AKA the gates of hell). I read my book for a while in order to avoid eye contact with anyone, but curiosity took over and I began to people-watch.
I’m not sure who my favourite characters in this live action Alan Bennett play/episode of League of Gentlemen were if I’m honest. I was spoilt for choice. This is Bradford after all.
I couldn’t help but like the doddery old man who came to collect his wife’s prescription and left the overcrowded waiting room clutching an industrial sized pack of Tena Lady night-time pants under each arm without any sense of embarrassment or care. I made a mental note to send Bman to collect mine when the time came (which, considering my current rate of decrepitude, is surely not too far into the future!)
We then had overdressed gypsy girl and her miniature Pogo Patterson lookalike toddler in his Hunter wellies and Ralph Lauren shirt.
He began to run around, so she pacified him with a bottle of coke – I always find that full sugar pop is a great calming influence on small children!
Pogo’s dad then strolls in. I can tell he’s the father. They are exactly alike and Dad is in fact not that much taller than his 18 month old offspring. It soon becomes apparent that they are trying to register at the surgery. Pogo Snr needs his young bride to assist with the form filling as he clearly cannot read or write. She doesn’t seem that much better. Pogo Snr sits down next to me. Wifey sits across the room. Pogo Jnr runs around with his pop.
Doctors come out of the corridor every now and then to shout people by name. Disturbingly, some of the patients do not come back out again. The Pogos get called in ahead of several people who were in front of them in the supposedly ‘first come first served’ waiting system. This does not go down well with the chuntering masses. Among other things, I am beginning to smell a revolt.
I am now losing the will to live as the clock ticks and I wonder what happens when it gets to 1430hrs if you haven’t been seen. Will I have to do this all again the next day? Fleeces and walking aids are des rigueur around the now standing room only waiting room of death. The disabled and the sick just keep coming in a tide of germs and ailments. I begin to feel ill myself and convince myself it’s sudden-onset Ebola.
Tracksuited baghead now arrives and sits down next to me with his social worker. Surely the story of my life. Trapped between a traveller and a drug addict! I decide to start reading my book again. This will distinguish me from the herd and prove I’m not illiterate and will also deter the parties either side of me from engaging me in conversation.
Baghead spots a fellow user across the room and shouts “Ay up mate, you got any burn on yer?” Matey says no. Baghead loudly requests that his mate put an order in via text. His social worker now chips in between gritted teeth that this is probably neither the time nor the place to arrange such a transaction. Baghead gets the hump and demands to be seen immediately. He is told that there are 15 people ahead of him in the queue (and the rest!). He stomps off outside for a fag, hotly pursued by his beleaguered looking social worker.
Bman calls to optimistically ask if I am done yet. Not wishing to let his nuggets defrost, He decides to take his frozen items home and come back for me later.
Seconds later I am called. (Typical). My doctor is female and looks about 16 years old. Her room is the one furthest away, down the longest corridor. It took me longer to get there with my gimpy limp and my cane than I spent in there. She poked at my calf and told me I needed another week off to ensure it was fully healed and to come back next week if I wasn’t convinced that it had.
I vacate the overcrowded overheated waiting room into the comparatively fresh air of the car park where I spot Pogo Snr heading for his car. His car is smarter than ours (TBH not that difficult, but still galling.) Bman texts to say he’ll be 10 minutes so the only place to sit and wait is on the wall of the chemists like a Meth-head waiting for the delivery van to arrive. Tong High School has started to chuck out so I pray no ex pupils will spot me lurking at the chemist and mistake me for one of Baghead’s mates.
As I am sat there clutching my sick note and my cane, one of the fleece-clad elderly complainers from the queue earlier on, spots me and seeing that she has a captive audience, waddles over and starts up a conversation on the failings of the booking system and the NHS in general. I nod politely in non-committal way and speak only when necessary. A neighbour of hers now rocks up. Grey anorak, syrup, bad leg, chest-high slacks. He’s going for the appointment he thought had been the day before when he had sat in the waiting room for half an hour before he realised he was a day early! Fleece is telling him all about mine and hers’ shared experience in the Walk-In clinic as if we were old mates and often go to the doctors together.
If I thought the waiting room was bad enough, I’m fucking trapped on the wall of the chemist now, half praying Bman turns up soon so I can escape, but also hoping he doesn’t, otherwise he will laugh his balls off and ask me continually about my new mates.
Slacks eventually takes his leave to join the mouth of Hades (AKA the waiting room). Fleece tells me it was lovely to meet me and maybe she’ll see me again soon (not if I see you first) then fecks off down the road. I consider going into the chemist to see if they do have any Meth, just so I can put myself down before I get to the stage of dementia that I forget when I made a doctor’s appointment or feel the need to pick up pals in car parks.
I think I need the extra week’s sick note to help me recover from the terror of going to the doctors in the first place!
Just to add to the crap day. I wrote all this out last night while I was watching ‘DIY SOS’ and weeping for the 2nd week running because someone was given a loo that washed and dried their arse! However, one careless click of the back button and the fucker was lost in the ether! (which might be a possibility with one of those all singing & dancing loos if you weren’t careful!) I’d almost finished it aswell. Gutted. I think I have pretty much written the same words but who knows. I’m pretty sure it was funnier last night but we’ll never know now eh.