Friday 11 January 2008

Medical intervention

15st 0lb 8oz (ha – “lacking focus”, am I?); 2.0 alcohol units yesterday, 1,484; Heligoland (NEVER German Bight).

I’ve been suffering from a sore throat since at least the beginning of December, so before it even got light this morning I went off to see my doctor. It took over a week to get an appointment, because he’s signed up to this wizard new NHS website which allows patients to make up to two appointments as much as 60 days in advance, thereby ensuring that every other hypochondriac in Northumberland had got in before me. God alone knows what happens if you’re actually taken seriously ill. Apart from the obvious, involving a period in a zipped bag prior to a longer-term solution involving a wooden box. Or a wicker basket, for the more environmentally conscious.

And you’d think that the really early appointments would be the ones most in demand from people with jobs to go to, wouldn’t you? Not the only ones left.

To cap it all I nearly killed myself slipping on the ice outside the surgery, which would have been ironic to say the least.

I’d convinced myself that there was something seriously wrong with me, over and above the obvious mental issues, so I was a bit disappointed when he said that it was a secondary infection that would clear up eventually. I got gloomily excited for about a nanosecond when he used the word “secondary”.

“Well, that’s my big break in journalism out of the window, then,” I said. “I’d been thinking I could be the next John Diamond.”

“Ooh, you wouldn’t want to do that,” he replied, and I thought he meant the long and painful death from cancer, which was indeed a bit of a bummer. “He’s a bloody awful singer.”

“Well, I don’t suppose having his tongue removed exactly helped him, did it?”

“I didn’t know about that. I suppose it might account for it. But there’s still no excuse for Song Sung Blue or Sweet Caroline – sweet Jesus, more like.”

“Er, I think you mean Neil Diamond. I’m talking about John.”

“Oh, the awful pilot. I don’t like him either. ‘You fill up my senses, like a night in the forest.’ What’s all that about?”

He had a point there. I once spent part of a night in a forest and the only thing that got filled up was my trousers, when a fox started screaming like a baby being murdered. Or what I imagine a baby being murdered sounds like, I should say in case this is being read by the Unsolved Crimes Unit of Northumbria Police.

But what I said was “That’s John Denver. I’m talking about John Diamond.”

“Who’s he, then?”

“Deceased journalist, married to Nigella Lawson. Wrote a moving weekly column about his cancer in The Times, and a rather good book called C.”

“Nah, never heard of him.”

Not a great meeting of minds then, on the whole. Still, he wholeheartedly supported my plans to lose 21lbs by Easter, while baulking at the suggestion that he might like to join my £10 per lb charity sponsorship scheme. And after all I’ve read about GPs’ whacking pay rises, too. His parting suggestion was that I should come back in a week or two to see a phlebotomist. Is there no limit to the number of immigrants the NHS will employ? And so far as I can see from my atlas, Phlebotomia isn’t even a member of the Commonwealth.

This afternoon I took my car to be serviced and had an extended test run in the vehicle that the world’s greatest car salesman thinks I should be driving instead. It’s a big step backwards environmentally, will consume petrol like a Premiership footballer knocking back flaming sambucas, and won’t fit into my garage. But then it also drives like a top-of-the-range DFS sofa mounted on a medium-range jet engine. I’ve got to have it.

In an attempt to inject a bit of sanity, I went round to see one of my more balanced ex-fiancées and set out the facts of the case. She told me that I should definitely not spend the money. Then I took her with me for a test drive, and 200 yards down the road she said “You’ve got to have it.”

Aren’t women reliably marvellous?

1 comment:

Menna said...

this is pretty funny stuff... I look forward to hearing about your next trip to the dentist ;-)