Friday, January 18, 2008

One for Dr Freud

Eddie has been having some problems with neck pains. The pains have been with him for years, but until recently he was managing pretty well with regular painkillers. A bit before Christmas the pains got worse so we repeated some blood tests, looking for evidence of arthritis, and an x-ray.

The bloods were quite normal, but the x-ray has shown worn disks in a couple of places in his neck and these will undoubtedly be the cause for his pain. So he will press on with the painkillers. I did offer him physio, but he has tried this before and is not keen.

“I used to come here for it when you had that blonde girl upstairs. We did it three times a week, but I had to give it up ‘cos it hurt too much!”

Then he realized what he had just said, and neither of us could entirely suppress a schoolboy smirk.

Some days here it's just like being on the set of a Carry On film.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Absent friend

Way back when, as one of my first tentative steps in compiling the rolling memoir that you now see before you, I wrote about an old friend and his best friend. My old friend Ray was back again today, this time on his own. Sadly, his best fried succumbed to a heart condition sortly after Christmas and is now serving guide dog duty for the choir invisible.

Ray reminds me that the initial consultation I described in the original post was almost a decade ago now, and yet the passing of his guide and companion still seems way too soon. Throughout the consultation we are reminded of the absence in the room as toys are not fetched to be deposited in either of our laps, and the "whumph" of a slightly pudgy labrador settling at his master's feet for the remainder of the consult is strikingly absent. No bowl of water appears at the door as once it did, and poor Ray is denied the fawning attention of one of our more dog mad reception team that was once his by right.

Happily this hiatus will not last for long as he has already been interviewed with a view to receiving a new companion. But for today we are left mourning the passing of a very special animal.

"The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's." Mark Twain

Friday, January 04, 2008

Winter Wonderland?

Overall it’s hard not to feel a bit swindled. The reports for the preceding forty-eight hours had been full of blizzard warnings for most of the known universe, or at least for dear old Blighty. And to be sure the East Coast did get a bit of a snowy pummeling.

We might have known when first the forecast started to slip from “Thursday” to “… around tea-time” to “… probably after seven”, that we were not to be blessed by so much as a solitary flake. Although actually I might have seen one or two playing fitfully on a chilly gust in the middle of the afternoon visiting round yesterday, or it might have been a slightly tardy post-hogmanay hang-overish sort of thing.

Instead today sees Ambridge submerged in the middle of a damp, clingy cloud of fog, and swept with successive bursts of fine cold drizzle. And the same cold, wet, numbing grip appears to have descended on the minds of most of the locals, or at least most of those attending surgery this past couple of days.

Fair to say, the rot had begun to set in on New Year’s Eve. It’s almost a cliché I know, but I can’t seem to get through a NYE surgery without encountering a least a couple of suicidally depressed patients presenting that day, for the very first time, and wanting everything sorted out right then. This year was no exception and it has sort of set the pattern for the past few days.

O.K. the high drama of NYE has been replaced by the dawning realization that we’ve all got another whole year ahead of us, so the actual impetus to self immolation has receded. Instead consultations seem to alternate between the flat, affectless and moping on the one hand, and the jittery, agitated, “free-floating” anxious on the other.

I can’t help noticing some of the patients seem a bit down in the dumps too.