Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Summer outing.

I can’t quite put my finger on what’s the matter, but somehow I haven’t been able to get my head together this past month. There’s definitely something in the wind, but I’m blowed if I can work out what it is, so apologies for the extended leave of absence, and further apologies that it is going to be further prolonged by upcoming hols.

Actually that ought to be Hols with a big “H”, since we are off cruising again which could spell bad news for the Jesterly waistline, and I promise I’ll try not to bore you all too much with countless photo’s of the backs of the family’s heads at various exotic Mediterranean locales when we get back. In the interim here’s a little offering I’ve had on the blocks for a while, since inspiration remains at low ebb right now.

Miranda has been a regular attender to my consulting room for more years than either of us would care to remember. She’s had a hard and demanding manual job and down the years it has taken its toll on her joints, but she complains very little and takes just enough pain relief to keep her functioning at work and “productive”. For the first decade or so of our acquaintance she appeared to be a loner, and quite content in her solitude. Then she began to mention a friend of hers who had recently been bereaved. It turned out that her friend was also a regular at the surgery, though perhaps a little less often than Miranda herself.

A year or so after the bereavement Miranda’s friend moved in with her to help with the rent and save them having to run two separate houses. I know this because Miranda was at pains to point out to me the nature of their association at the time. Down the next couple of years she would make occasional references to her friend during consultations, but often said nothing further about their continued association. Then after five years or so she finally let slip, oh so casually, that she and her friend had become “partners”, whilst looking out of the corner of her eye to see if I looked like I might fall off the chair or start wagging a disapproving finger. I didn’t, of course, and feel I passed something of a test that day.

I suspect you will already have guessed the reason for Miranda’s anxiety but offer the usual EVCHN ™ for the first correct respondent.

10 comments:

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Did Miranda need one of those olde worlde style doctor operated stimulating machines for 'anxiety', or have I just got far too one track a mind?!
BG

Elaine said...

shurely shome mishtake - ed. benefit scrounging scum. It might have been battery operated, but not doctor operated (unless said doctor wished to come up before the GMC - never mind that dreadful "Dr" Bacon's website).

orchidea said...

She’s had a hard and demanding manual job and down the years it has taken its toll on her joints, but she complains very little and takes just enough pain relief to keep her functioning at work and “productive”.

Maybe it's just me, but I found the above sentence so poignant.

Have a lovely time, Dr J, and don't worry about the waistline; it'll still be around when you get back. ;-)

o xxx

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Elaine: No, no mistake...the very first of such devices were indeed administered by doctors as a treatment for things such as 'hysterical anxiety'. In fact the mechanised devices were only developed as it could be exhausting to the physician to administer such relief manually. How times change!
http://www.slate.com/id/2121835/slideshow/2121919/fs/0//entry/2121909/
BG

Dr Andrew Brown said...

The partner will be another lady.

I'm sure your tacit approval was a great relief and support to her.

Love is love and can't ever be a bad thing, I reckon.

Doctor Jest said...

bendy girl-- certainly not doctor operated, but I can't speak for DIY. On a tangent in earlier years I did toy with the idea of training to be a sex therapist, but being the only male in a room of twenty very earnest lady doctors rather scared me off...

elaine-- Hmmm. Such services would certainly raise a few eyebrows on "Iwantbettercare" I should imagine. I understand they have had to sanitize "Lord" Darzi's references on the site a time or two so far though, so it isn't all bad.... and bendy girl is quite right, a century or so ago society ladies used to flock to their GPs for a little "executive relief", though I'm told their (universally male) medical attendants took no pleasure in the act at all....

orchidea-- poignant indeed.

Miranda is one of those rare souls whose endurance of hardship seems effortless when I am certain it can only be anything but. She puts me in mind of a swan.

Dr Andrew-- the hob nob is yours sir. I take it you regognize the scenario from your own practice?

"Love is love and can't ever be a bad thing, I reckon."

Indeed, well said.

Elaine said...

What a nice solution to the conundrum. I agree, for what it is worth.

Have great Hols and we look forward to seeing you when you return refreshed.

Jo said...

Dear Dr Jest, I am writing an article for HSJ on blogging in the NHS and am hoping to speak to some anonymous bloggers about why they do it etc.

It would be great if you - or any fellow bloggers - could get in touch with me at jo@jostephenson.com

My deadline is Friday August 15.

Jo Stephenson

Dr Andrew Brown said...

I take it you recognize the scenario from your own practice

Oh yes. The word got around long ago that I treat gay patients as normal human beings. But just occasionally I spot someone being a bit reticent.

Have a good holiday.

Doctor Jest said...

jo-- so sorry, but I can't email you without blowing my carefully guarded secret identity. What I can tell you is that I write because I feel I have to. It's in part a safety valve to help me let off steam, part a chance to show off in public but from behind a mask, and part a desire to commit the memoir to the page before the dementia sets in.

HTH and good luck with the dealine.

Dr Andrew-- Isn't it funny how the grapevine works ;-)