New Surgery

Sometimes when you move there are things that you really don’t want to change, and so you hang on to the old for as long as possible. The hairdresser you’ve had for twelve years, your dentist and of course, your friendly neighbourhood doctor.
I managed to keep the same hairdresser for two years after I moved the last time. It wasn’t even a hardship. My daughter would book both of our appointments together and I would go and stay for a few days, enjoying the luxury of a manicure and hair do at the same time. Mum would need to go to the dentist so I booked for myself and her for the first year at the same place. It was quite easy. But the doctor, well let me tell you, that’s a completely different kettle of fish. Choosing a doctor is like a hotel you’ve never been to, you can’t go and inspect the rooms before you book, just as you can’t go and have a chat with the new doctor to see if he or she is on the same wavelength as you. So, you have to go by word of mouth although today there is a website where they post doctors reviews, it’s a joke, it kept saying the site wasn’t available.
This time I’ve moved too far away but I’ve been lucky with the dentist and hairdressers. The first thing I asked the girl who was about to cut my hair was, “Are you, are you planning, or are you considering falling pregnant?” Can’t understand why she looked so surprised. It’s a valid question, I didn’t want to turn up one day to find out she was leaving, especially if she was good. It turns out she’s my age, which really made me feel miserable, I thought she was in her thirties.
“What would you like done?” she asked as she picked up the scraggly strands of my outgrown 80’s style.
“I want to look as young as you.”
“Well I don’t do miracles,” she smiled.
She’ll do.
The doctor’s surgery was a whole new concept in getting it wrong, really wrong. You see they call you in for an MOT when you first sign on the dotted line. It’s worse than signing your soul over to the Devil. At lease the Devil waits until you’re dead to collect, this lot want blood before you even get to the operating table. I swear that all doctor’s surgeries are run by a blood bank for the underground society of vampires. They forever seem to be taking my blood.
My appointment booked, I was there ten minutes early. That was a good start, the tiny car park was full and my sixteen point tight turns aren’t the most elegant of manoeuvres. But I made it, so what if the back fence of the car park now needs replacing, it wasn’t my fault they put it two inches further in than they needed to. It must have been rotten to have collapsed that easily. I parked across the road, making sure there were no obstacles or funny signs. You know the ones,
“Do not park in front of gate, because I’m an arsehole and don’t want to share the road with anyone, even though you have a right to, and pay your road tax.”
The surgery waiting room was empty which was a surprise, however the reception office wasn’t. There seemed to be a dozen administrators, can’t call them secretaries today can you. You can still call the lady on the reception, a receptionist, I wonder what she will become in future. “Gatekeeper to the realm of health.”
“No I don’t have to tell you my inside leg measurement, how many times I sneezed snot into a hanky today, nor whether my mother had any strange and wondrous diseases that you do not need to be aware of, I want to see a doctor, not a bookerin’er.”
I was pleasantly surprised, as the lady at the desk, turns out her name is Michell, wasn’t like that at all. I was ready for a fight and I was denied the right of being the indignant patient who had a right to secrecy, well at least until I left the surgery and she could open up my records and have a peek.
I sat in one of the hard, plastic chairs that had been securely fixed to the wall and the floor. They weren’t getting away anytime soon. As my bum reached the wriggle a little to the left stage, a door opened and I was called in by a rather burly bespectacled nurse. Burly being kind.
Taken into the grotty back room that serves as a nurse’s surgery I was put through the mill.
Now I don’t know about you but I feel that this metric lark is just an excuse of the men in Parliament to confuse those of us with a brain cell or two. It’s working I might add.
I’ve always said that the MP’s in the seventies were getting jealous of their European contemporaries as they were allowed to report 15.24cm rather than 6inch, if you get my drift.
Dar dar, decimalisation.
The robust nurse, I’m still at this point being polite, has measured my every asset, not just the two in the front that are in the scaffold testing trade. Height, weight, and waist. She kept sighing and giving me that, could do better look as she measured. Pulling herself with a great deal of effort to a position whereby she could reach the keyboard, she began to type.
I tried to ask her how I was doing, in my politest, friendliest manner and she “Sh’d” me, she really did, she “Sh’d” me, as if I was a child in an exam. I was slightly taken back by this effrontery, but held my tongue.
“Find another Drs,”
“Complaints procedure,”
“Ignorant bitch,” were the phrases that came to mind.
As abruptly as she began, she stopped typing turning the screen away from my view as I tried desperately to view my own records. Placing her hands firmly on the edge of the table, she pushed herself away, the chair cringing beneath her. The spare tyre around her waist flopped as she leant back, this was my new nurse, great example of taking care of yourself, I must say. “Now don’t be unkind Jen,” I told myself, maybe she has a thyroid problem. The seams on her blue nurse’s tunic began creaking under the strain of holding the garment together. I laid bets with myself as to how long it would last.
“Now then Jennifer.”
Had I given her permission to use my fist name? No I had not.
“It’s Jenny actually,” I stated.
“Jennifer,” she continued whilst her eyes fixed on the screen in front of her.
Erh, hello, I’m over here.
“It’s says here, your name is Jennifer.”
“But they call me…..” What was the bloody use?
Now as you know I have this habit of listening, but not hearing if I’m not interested, but believe me when I tell you, I heard every single word she said, even if I found it hard to believe it was coming from her.
“Your overweight, Mrs Haynes.”
I see we are going to be like that are we.
“At 1.65 metres tall and weighing 85.75kgms, you are overweight.
“What’s that in real money?” I asked.
“Tsk,” she looked at me, “That’s 13 and ½ stone.” She replied.
POT, KETTLE, I wanted to scream at her, no calm down, she’s right, this isn’t about her, this is about me. She is not at issue, I am, OHMMMM!
“With a waist measurement of 91.5cms you are at risk of diabetes, and as an ex-smoker you have a higher chance of heart disease and stroke and high blood pressure.”
“Any good news,” I tried to lighten the mood. Which was met by a steely stare. At this rate, I was considering going to the shop across the road and buying ten cigarettes. But have you seen the price of them. That’s another story.
Now it must be a colour thing, a subliminal message that ‘the powers that be’ have woven into all blue material. Funny my nan used to wear blue a lot and I was petrified of her. We all crumble, the blue of the policeman, the uniform of the nurses, we just become blithering idiots, well at least I do.
“I know,” I muttered, “but I am trying to lose weight.”
The final insult was the cuff. Now I was going to tell her that I had thought about her as I got dressed that morning and had chosen my clothing especially for her, but I don’t think she would have seen the funny side, as I told her that I was thinking what was best to wear for her to get wrapped around me, I don’t think she had a sense of humour, so I dutifully held out my arm. Not for me, the delicate, cuff of the automated blood pressure machine, that gradually caressed your arm until the green light flashed and the machine on the desk beeps, oh no, she had the old grey uber strangulation cuff with the hand pump. This wasn’t going to be pleasant.
And it wasn’t. She pumped with her Arnold Schwarzenegger arm, and the cuff swelled. I’m sure her tunic was going to do a hulk split, as a bead of sweat appeared on her forehead, obviously not as fit as our Arnie.
Finally stopping, the disapproving look stayed on her face, oh didn’t I say, that arrived at the very beginning as she ushered me into her room and looked me up and down. I should have walked out there and then, this was the most humiliating experience I’d ever had at a doctor’s surgery.
“A hundred and fifty-one over a hundred and forty,” she declared as she ripped the cuff from my arm.
“Ouch, that was hair. What, no way?” Now I was totally peeved, and that was putting it mildly.
You will stay calm, the blue tunic told me. This is a professional nurse, you will treat her with respect.
“That’s far too high, book an appointment to see the GP.” She heaved herself out of the chair, I’m sure it gave a sigh of relieve. The ooze of Buddha coveted spare tyre around her waist tried to rearrange itself to look like a human torso.
I left. No fuss, no words, no complaints, nothing, I just left.
Stunned into silence it took a while to realise that the friendly receptionist was smiling at me through the glass panel in the wall.
“Another appointment, is it?” There was a knowing sorrowful look on her face.
“Erh, yes please.”
“I’ll book you into see Dr Shar, he’s nice, you’ll like him.”
As it happened I did like him, he was astounded as he read my notes the next week, and he did read them, and he used a new blood pressure reader and my blood pressure was fine, and all was well. He did say that he thought I could do with losing a few pounds and suggested I tried some exercise and cutting down on some of the goodies, but that was about it.
I’ve not seen the nurse since that day, which is a good thing really for I know that if I did, I would become that simpering mess that left the surgery that day. It turns out she was a stand in for the surgery nurse that had been off. When I went to see the real nurse I almost kissed her, she was so nice, and guess what I’m down to 75.3kgms. That’s 11 stone and 12lb in real money. Getting slimmer. Maybe, just maybe the old, fat cow had a point.
Nar, never.

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