Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Communication Breakdown.

In comes Mrs. Antrobus, worried looking daughter in her wake. It seems she was taken ill at the weekend and was seen in the out of hours service and offered some treatment for a presumed water infection. This much I can glean from the computer, which, as it transpires, is just as well….

Dr J (for it is he): So Mrs. A. what can we* do for you today?

Mrs A (with furrowed browed daughter hovering in the background adding emphasis in the proper places by mime every bit as artistic and expressive as the great Marcel Marceau): Well Doc, I come over all queer** at the weekend didn’t I.

Dr J: “?” (return of the inquisitorial eyebrow)

Mrs A: You know, proper poorly. (From the contortions and grimaces going on in the background I take it either that she has taken up Sumo as a new hobby, or had some sort of loin pain.)

Dr J: So what exactly do we mean by “Poorly” here Mrs A?

Mrs A: Oh you know. All “unnecessary” like. I was really breathless you know. I’m sure it’s the tablets. (At this stage my “Interpreter for the deaf” has gone into some sort of paroxysm, perhaps a scene from Psycho, but she didn’t do the “Film / Book / Play / Song” thing at the beginning, so I must admit to being a bit stumped).


I’m not sure if we were going round the houses or just the mulberry bush, but you get the picture. After a bit more verbal sparring and inspired modern dance interpretation in the background, we got to the gist of the consultation. Mrs A did indeed have a urinary infection at the weekend. That made her feel physically wretched, as anyone who has ever been so afflicted will attest it might, and that in turn brought on a series of panic attacks with hyperventilation.

Given that she already has the necessary antibiotics she left armed with and advice sheet and a brown paper bag.

I suspect I shall be seeing her daughter soon with a sprain or two judging by the way the poor lady limped out of the consulting room.

Still, the Royal College would be proud of me, picking up on all those “non-verbal” cues and all…

*You can argue that talking about oneself in the first person plural smacks of delusions of grandeur. I prefer to think of it as implying that I am putting the entire facility of the Ambridge Surgery, smoothly oiled diagnostic and therapeutic machine that it is, at this one patient’s disposal for the duration of our shared consultation. Then again, you might just be on to something….

** Mrs A is of that generation still able to use words like queer and gay without any connotation.

1 comment:

Shinga said...

It's been a long time since I've seen someone come over "all unnecessary", I miss that fine turn of phrase.