So I am poorly. Very poorly. I was most reluctant to visit the Doctor because of my many visits last year with various ailments I had self diagnosed – eg altzheimer’s; underactive thyroid, diabetes – all of which I was tested for and found negative for. All my ailments ended up being symptoms of the menopause and so at that point I determined only to visit the Doctor if it was really serious so that I would not get a reputation for being a hypochondriac and potentially cause them to miss something in a sort of ‘girl who cried wolf’ kind of way.
But I can barely move. I am existing on a diet of lemsips and phish food ice cream (medicinal as it is the only thing that will ease my throat). My head hurts, my chest is congested, my eyes have disgusting exretions coming from then. My ear is on fire. My body is on fire and I am sweating (though that could be the flushes – it is kind of hard to tell).
So I call the receptionist. I tell her I am not sure whether or not to come in – I might be wasting the Doctors time. She listens to my fragile voice describing my awful symptoms and I hear her tapping away at her computer. I am hoping she is looking at my file and not ordering something off Amazon as she is very quiet.
‘I think you should come in’ she says ‘I can get you an emergency appointment at 2pm’.
I take it. Then i start to panic. It must be serious if they have fitted me in on the same day. Menopausal anxiety, sickness and Google are a troublesome combination. A few clicks and I realise I have symptoms of pleurisy. Or maybe pneumonia. I wonder if I should pack a small bag in case they send me straight to hospital. A few more clicks and I suspect I may have a lung abscess. Maybe chronic bronchitis. Or even chronic obstructive pulmonary disease!!
I am really panicking now and start to work out how long I can live for if I have to give up work to recover. I am kicking myself for not taking out income protection cover. That starts me worrying about whether I have mortgage protection cover – will they let me remortgage or do interest only payments? I logon to see the pitiful amount of savings I have and deduce I could last about 3 weeks and 2 days before I would be out on the street.
Then it’s time to go. In my younger days, in the very rare event I went to a Doctor, I only ever went if I wanted a sick note so I could skive off work (I have realised though that as I get closer to 50 then Doctors/Medical Practitioners take you much more seriously than when I was 22 and the bloody Doctors would shush me away with no sick note and some advice to ‘cheer up’). I worry and worry on the way there – Receptionists are trained to pick out malingerers so she must have realised I am very much at risk
I go in and answer the usual questions – smug as always with the no smoking… less smug with the units of alcohol per week. No sign of scales thank god as that would have wiped the smugness completely off my face.
I panic as I realise I have no bra on – feck – what if he wants to listen to my chest. As he checks temperature, oxygen flow etc I get more and more anxious – what will he think if I have to remove my top and my boobs are thrust into his face? He might put something in my notes that I am a total loony (if it isn’t there already)
He listens to my back with his stethocope thing. He gets me to cough and I do a delicate little cough. He asks again – then tells me to do a full on deep cough. God he is a Doctor – I am a menopausal women – does he not get why I am coughing so lightly?. But I obey and hope for the best – fortunately it is only a little bit of wee that comes out and I think I get away with it. I cough again and again for him – it starts to get quite traumatic – my bladder is really full from all the lemsips.. He stops there – doesn’t do my chest – maybe coz he can see from that there is no bra and doesn’t want to risk it.
‘Just a cold’ he says.
‘WTF’ I say.
‘Yes’ says ‘lots of it about’.
Does he not realise just how sick I am? I panic and worry again that maybe he was too embarrassed to listen to my braless chest and maybe that would have been the decider in sending me to the hospital for immediate treatment. Maybe he has seen all of the appointments for last year and a ‘hypochondriac’ note on my file.
‘Antibiotics?’ I croak. ‘Oh no’ he says. ‘Two paracetamol every four hours, fluids and rest – you’ll be fine’. Well I beg to feckin differ – it will serve him right if I have to be blue lighted into A&E at 3am with one of the many illnesses I think I may have.
So I return home to bed, picking up some more phish food ice cream with paracetamol on the way back. I try to buy three packs but am told that I can only buy 2 – apparently if you buy more than that you are probably planning to kill yourself and the supermarket refuses to potentially be a guilty party in such an arrangement. I resist the urge to say ‘FFS – if I really wanted to top myself do you think I wouldn’t just choose another method or just simply pop to another shop’ but it is hard as I am due a rant. No need though – as she tells me she’ll just put it through on another transaction and that will solve it.
Next day I suspect I might be getting slightly better. I truly think you can judge how sick you are by how interesting you find daytime telly. Yesterday I was desperate to find out if that lovely man on Jeremy Kyle was indeed that poor girls father and was hooked for the DNA results. Today I am couldn’t care less if the man the lady wants to marry may be her cousin. I mean I record it – coz I want to find out. But I don’t watch it.
May actually be getting better! But I am now obsessed with the various ‘diagnose your own illness’ websites there are – and I may need to make another visit to the Doctors soon.
I may change surgery first though…..