It all started yesterday. Well actually a week ago today. If you have a minute.
As I have moved house I needed to sign on with a new GP, so I looked up the local GPs on the internet and found the one in my area. I telephoned them;
"Good morning, Just Down the Road Medical Centre!" The dragon receptionist answered.
"Good morning, I've just moved to the area and I would like to register with the Doctor please." I replied.
"If you would like to drop in and complete a registration form, we'll pass it to Doctor and see if they will take you on."
"WHAT, what do you mean if they will take me on?"
"Well under the new legislation they are under no obligation to take patients just because they are local, so if you would like to complete your registration form and drop it in we'll see if they are willing to take you." A hint of smugness had crept into the dragon's voice.
So I toddled off to the Just Down the Road Medical Centre and requested my form. After filling out the hundred and one questions re; my medical history, I approached the final leg, two more questions and then I was done. Do you smoke? Urm, ah, well, sort of, maybe, were not options, it was either yes or no and if yes how many? Busted. So in the spirit of honesty I completed the question. Yes.
I crept back to the dragon at reception and slid my form under the glass screen. Reading through it briefly to check that I hadn't omitted anything she came to the last but one question. Peering at me over the rim of her glasses she sucked in her breath and with a slight shake of her head she placed the form into the Doctor's tray.
"If you call tomorrow we'll let you know the 'verdict'." The old smug tone had reappeared.
Head down I slinked out of the now packed waiting room.
The following day I telephoned, a new dragon answered, younger more chirpy.
"Good morning, Just Down the Road Medical Centre."
"Good morning, I completed a registration form yesterday, can you tell me if if has been accepted?" I replied.
"Hmm," piped music, I was on hold, "No."
"But, but why?"
"No, Doctor hasn't had chance to look at it yet. Doctor is a very busy person you know. (No I didn't know, I assumed Doctor was sitting on their hands all day.) Call back on Monday."
"I hate to be a nuisance, but I need a repeat prescription, pretty urgently. I run out of my meds next week." I persisted.
"Call back Monday, we'll see what we can do." The phone went dead.
So the following Monday I called again. Doctor still hadn't seen my form. I was advised to call again on Tuesday. I called at lunchtime, they were closed for staff training for the rest of the day. Oh joy. So as time was fast running out now, I called first thing yesterday morning. I enquired as to whether my form had been seen. This time it was dippy dragon who answered:
"Good morning, Jus.."
"Yes, yes, I know who you are, I just called you, remember," Calm down St Jude, possibly not the best approach.
"Yes madam?" she enquired.
"I am enquiring... (you know how it goes now, after three, all together now)." More piped music.
"I'm sorry but we don't have any forms for a person by that name." dippy dragon replied at length.
"You must have I completed it last Thursday,"
"Oh. Are you sure you remembered to bring it back in?"
"I completed it there and handed it straight back in," The now frustrated 'three year old' replied.
Dippy dragon placed me on hold again, only to be replaced by the original 'horn rimmed' dragon. Who informed me that I should come in and complete another form, which would be handed to Doctor... hold on a minute! So once again I explained my predicament. Alright, she relinquished, as they had misplaced my original form they would 'fastrack' me. So once more I toddled off to the Just Down the Road Medical Centre, and completed another form. On handing it back I again reaffirmed my need to see the Doctor asap. They could fit me in with the nurse an hour later and I could be 'squeezed' in to see Doctor after that. Result.
So off I toddled home again. Then back again to the JDtRMC. The nurse called me in, a friendly lady, all bustle and ruddy cheeks, I felt safe with her, she had obviously been doing this from the year dot. She briskly checked my form, and double checked what meds I was on and why. Then she checked my blood pressure. It was high, very high.
"What did you say your medication was for again?" Nurse Bustle asked.
"High blood pressure," I squirmed. "It's normally alright, I haven't had any problems before." I asserted.
"When was it last checked?"
"Urm, six months ago."
I was ushered back into the waiting room and told to sit 'calmly' amidst the snotty children and the wailing babies waiting for the baby clinic. Think happy thoughts St Jude, beautiful meadows, waves crashing on a shingle beach. Half hour up I was back with Nurse Bustle. Still high. Staring at my form she traced her finger down the answers to the questions. It stopped abruptly at the last but one.
"You've answered yes,"
I nodded. The three year old was back.
"Doctor doesn't want any more smokers." she said slowly.
There was no need to check my blood pressure anymore, I could feel the steam rising myself. I skulked out of Nurse Bustle's room and headed towards the waiting room once more, just in time to hear my name being called for my appointment with the Doctor. Despondently I walked into her room.
"Good morning. Nurse Bustle tells me your blood pressure is up. We need to keep an eye on that. I'm glad to hear you've decided to quit smoking, you know it makes sense. Nurse Bustle tells me you are going to be attending her 'smokers' clinic." The Doctor said cheerily.
I nodded meekly. So that is how 'I' decided to quit smoking.
Day 1 - (It will be a victory just to get through today).