Sometimes fate seems to conspire to shuffle everything into exactly the right position. Sometimes, you get given a break from nowhere, and although looking upon it as some sort of divine intervention is undoubtedly ridiculous and against everything I believe in… occasionally I wonder if somebody may be looking out for me.
I never wonder enough to believe it. I’m a woman of science; in mind if not education. Sometimes the concept just flickers through my mind. Like it did today.
I didn’t sleep. Of course I didn’t; it never happens before an appointment, and I admit I to missing S terribly after spending five days attached at the hip, so – as always – I comforted myself with procrastination until morning. Dragged myself off the bed at 8am to tie my hair back, put some mascara on and shuffle myself into my massively-oversized fat jeans, and then sat around snapping at my mother for a while. As usual, she gave me the usual verbal list she trots out every time I leave the house:
Have you got your phone?
Have you taken your medication?
Have you got your stick?
Do you have a cardigan?
Will those shoes be comfortable?
… sometimes, the list can run on into the hundreds, I swear.
To my shame, I called a taxi to get me to the small medical centre. It’s only a five-minute walk from my house. I just couldn’t face hobbling down the street in full view of the neighbours. I’m already the local weirdo, and small-town memories are long; my neighbours have seen me being brought home by police cars and taken to hospital in ambulances. They’ve watched me storm down the road while screaming at my mother, swearing and threatening suicide. To them I must come across as very strange; often not leaving the house for days on end and never using public transport. I’ve never driven a car (legally anyway) or left every morning for a regular job. It’s rare that somebody visits our house, and my bedroom window – which overlooks more houses – often has the curtains open wide and a light on at 3am.
I digress. When I got to the medical centre, I walked to the desk and told the receptionist I had an appointment with Dr C at half nine. She looked at her computer screen and winced; “it’s actually booked in with Dr W“.
Dr W is my sworn mortal enemy. As a young child, I was allergic to streptomycin – an antibiotic which is now only given intravenously in most countries, but was free for oral use when I was younger – and this was clearly documented in my notes. Dr W was called out for a home visit after I’d picked up yet another infection somewhere in my body, and straight away prescribed streptomycin. I assume my mother was too tired and stressed to check what she was giving me. Long story short, I went into anaphylactic shock and became very ill, and my mother and I (almost-jokingly) refer to her as the woman who tried to kill me.
Okay, doctors mess up. However, Dr W has been my sister’s GP for a long time, and in the past would often leave E in tears as she accused her of smoking. E is severely asthmatic and requires strong inhalers, and I’d take a guess that she really, really doesn’t smoke. Neither of my sisters do, although my brother C smokes like a chimney
As a result, I’ve always been nervous of Dr W. I don’t cope well with authority as it is, and any hint of feeling judged or being seen as faking it sends me into a mad panic. However, I was in such a bad mood that I just accepted my fate and decided to throw her desk across the room if she so much as looked at me sideways. As it turns out, I didn’t need to force my pathetic muscles to throw office furniture. I didn’t even need to protest anything. This is where the fake divine intervention comes in. I saw her on the day I was finally going to lose it, when I finally reached the end of that absurdly long tether. The one day I wasn’t meek and mild, and was prepared to threaten to sue over the ridiculous length of time I’ve been expected to deal with multiple health problems with no real treatment or investigation.
I sat down and we exchanged “long time no see” pleasantries. I bit my tongue against saying “long time no attempted child murder”, and explained what’s been happening.
“I’m just tired of the pain. I’m sick of missing out on life because everything revolves around appointments. Lyrica helps, but I can’t enjoy my new-found ability to walk more than a few yards because I can’t stand on my left foot without wanting to amputate it. I never heard back about any test results, I don’t know what’s happening, everything seems to be inconclusive, and I want to know what’s going on.”
Dr W got on the phone to radiology and tried to chase up my ultrasound results, with little luck. Then she called my rheumetologist’s secretary. Again, no luck; Dr B has the results but Dr W couldn’t access them. After examining my foot she confirmed that I had indeed waited too long for any follow up, and promised to speak to Dr B himself later in the day to arrange an appointment with him ASAP.
I left her office feeling hopeful. Dismayed that I still have no way of alleviating the pain, but cheered to know she listened to my worries and not only took them on board, but acted on them. The doctor who tried to kill me… she came through for me.
By 11am, she’d spoken to Dr B. He’s sending an appointment out.