Friday, June 16, 2006

seeing red
er, hello. Sorry, I would say I’ve been busy, but it’d be a lie. The truth is I just got out of the habit of writing and then it seemed harder and harder to come back. But there are some days that just beg to be written about, one way or another. Wednesday was one of those days.
I had the rage. You know, the rage of woman – when anyone who dared to step to heavily, breathe in my vicinity, speak or type too loudly was liable to suffer agonizing death at my hand. Then there had been the dreams – two nights of terribly disturbing and intense narratives, leaving me exhausted and perturbed upon finally waking. So, the day did not auger well.
I had to leave work to register at the GP surgery – a chore I had been avoiding. At the bus stop a man was rifling through the bin. He picked out a banana skin and an empty tobacco packet. Poor desperate soul, I thought. Then he proceeded to “decorate” the bus stop with detritus! The world was full of loonys.
I had to stop off at the sett to pick up my NHS card. I let my guard down for a moment, thinking – after a terrible bus journey – that now at least I was in the fresh air and sunshine…when I managed to interrupt a schoolgirl having a wee next to a hedge. Lovely.
The GP’s surgery – recommended by TA – scared me a little (the waiting room smelt of BO and there was a prayer “to be said before starting work” taped to the wall above the receptionists’ tea rota).
I filled in the form they had given me – transferring all the information from my NHS card and writing carefully “not known – adopted” next to all the questions about family medical history. I handed the form in. Visited the loo to pee on a stick (perhaps that’s what the schoolgirl was up to) as instructed and waited to be called to see the nurse.
The nurse’s office was full of Catholic paraphernalia. Wonderful. For the next ten minutes the nurse asked me for all the information I had spent the previous ten minutes carefully writing on the form, which she then typed (with one finger, as if using a keyboard for the first time) into the – circa 1970 – computer. Her: Where were you born? Me: Portsmouth. Her, typing: P O U. Me: No, Portsmouth: p. o. r. t. s. m. o. u. t. h. (thinks – Jesus, where did she qualify?). Any serious illness? Me: I’m hydrocephalic. Me: h. y. d. r. – pointing to the screen – there: “hydrocephalus” as the list auto-populated. At this point I was beginning to wonder not where, but *how* she qualified.
She asked the inevitable family history question, to which I replied “I don’t know. I’m adopted.” I had to repeat myself as she gave me a blank stare. And then she said, with a look of nervousness as if I’ve just told her my family died in a plane crash, “I’m so sorry…”
Breathe, Lisa. It’s nothing to take offense at; she’s just a bit tactless. We continue laboriously inputting my personal data. She takes my blood pressure, and manages somehow to rest her ample bosom on my arm while she does it. Breathe, Lisa: if it doesn’t bother her why should it bother you?
We reach the end of the form. I see on the screen that there is space for additional notes. I watch with interest as she starts typing. She writes “does not know family history – claims she is adopted”. What the fuck? I think about it for a couple of beats and then say quite calmly: I don’t claim I am adopted; I am adopted. In my head I make excuses for her poor word choice, but then she says: “Well, I don’t know that do I, you’ve told me, but I don’t know that.” My belief is beggared. I manage to keep calm, just, and say quietly “It’s a matter of public record. I’m adopted.” And so she changes the wording to pacify me. I AM NOT PACIFIED. I’m still furious. The rest of the registration process is abbreviated as I rush to get out of there before I stab her with whatever sharp object comes to hand.
And so, at my first appointment with the GP – next week – I shall, once I’ve persuaded the doctor to put me on Prozac in an attempt to put a stop to my galloping bulimia, be lodging a formal complaint about the witless, insulting, offensive nurse.
Wish me luck.

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