I was waiting on an uncomfortable plastic chair to be seen by a nurse. I hoped the nurse would be able to diagnose the debilitating brain clamping pain that has dogged me for the last ten days. Boxing Day saw a full house waiting in the local NHS Drop In Centre. The room was filled with a cacophany of hacking coughs from tuberculotic infants for the hour that I sat patiently waiting my turn. I guess that’s why they call us patients.
I distracted myself from the snivelling and wheezing by reading more of ‘The Selfish Gene’. I idly wondered about genes creating survival machines to protect and support them so that they could endure. I looked round at the survival machines transporting sickness and decided that the NHS waiting rooms had been an evolutionary mechanism to allow the genes in viruses to be transported to as many other survival machines as possible.
The nurse came in to the primeval soup of virus and infection and called my name. She caught me on my back foot as she launched her first assault,
“How come you are reading a book if you’ve got a headache?”
Headache? You call this pain that feels like the adult population of China are all begatting more than their legal limit of offspring all at the same time behind my eyes “a headache”? It feels like my temples could burst at any moment. And what the sweet bejesus do you want people to do in a waiting room surrounded by decay and misery instead of read books? Sit and stare at the walls for hours on end? Whimper in agony? Poke knitting needles into their eyes and cut off their ears to distract them from the surrounding suffering?
No wonder my blood pressure was high when she made comments like that. No wonder the NHS Drop In Clinic doesn’t reduce the number of people going to GPs. That nurse will be sorry when my eyes pop out and blood starts gushing out of my ears. Not as sorry as me though.