May I start by saying Hello to Lewisham Hospital? Hello! They're nice people who tweeted me recently and they read the blog. Good timing too because my big foot has been painful again. I thought, I can do one of two things: I can sit here all day watching PhoneShop (turns out I couldn't. I saw the first 10 minutes and it started to give me brain cancer) or I can go to my GP. Even if there was nothing wrong with me the choice was obvious. I made the appointment with Woodlands Health Centre and like a fucking idiot I actually thought I would get seen.
I've complained about Woodlands Health Centre before. Anyone who has ever had any contact with Woodlands Health Centre has complained about it before. Nothing wrong with the medical staff there but the badly stuffed, depressed scarecrows that work there are beyond useless. The answer to every question is "I don't know" and their facial expression for every occasion is "I don't care". It's like the awful woman in Charing Cross Station last week. I could argue with them but I'm fighting a losing battle. Well, I'm a loser, baby.
Woodlands Health Centre is a mile away from my house. A mile away and up hill. An uphill mile is a lot to drag a big foot through but in the interest of getting better, I did it. I took each agonising step with incredible dignity and poise. The pain shooting through my muscular frame went unnoticed by passers-by, such was my reluctance to complain or fuss. No human being has ever suffered as much and looked so fucking awesome in the history of everything ever. Thank you. It was a frigging pain walking all the way there, especially considering what happened.
"Hello. My name is Michael Legge. I have an appointment for 10.20".
The melted lump at reception stared right through me like she did to everyone at every time every day. I had to repeat myself a few times before any of the information got through to her boneless, brainless head. "It's running late", she said.
No "I'm sorry but we're badly behind schedule. Would you mind waiting?" No, none of that. Just a fat bored face mumbling "It's running late". I asked how late and she either shrugged or her shoulders swallowed her neck and vomited it up again. I can't be sure. "Dunno", she coughed. "45 minutes?"
I have never ever been to Woodlands and got what I came for first time. EVER. I always, always have to phone them, go there, get told it's not ready/it's running late/I done broked it, go home and then come back the next day. EVERY SINGLE TIME. I shouldn't have been so surprised that they had fucked it all up again as they always do. I dunno, I think I just gave them the benefit of the doubt which, of course, makes me King Cunt in this story. I didn't snap. Not yet. I just grumped.
"Couldn't you have called me to tell me it was running late?"
She went back to staring right through me. I stared back but not straight through her. I stared into her face. Just to see if she could emotionally connect with a human. Time passed and all I got was "I don't know".
I expected as much. Time to snap. "OK. So I have to wait 45 minutes?"
"Well, I can't wait that long. Any chance I can see the doctor before that?"
LONG PAUSE. "I don't know. He's not in yet".
Fucking brilliant. She's asking me to wait on someone who hasn't got in yet. I'm not blaming the delayed doctor, anything could have happened, but couldn't she have told me this at the beginning? Well?
"I don't know".
"Right. Can I make another appointment?"
This upset her greatly because it meant that she had to look at her computer again. She'd already looked at it once when I first walked in, just to confirm my name, address and appointment. Now she had to look at it AGAIN. Her computer was right beside her but she had to exhaust herself by moving her boneless head a little to look at it. "Tomorrow at 8?"
I didn't really fancy getting up even earlier to walk up a fucking hill for no fucking reason. In the end, we started haggling for time. After this she did her equivalent of a smile (like a skin bubble on custard bursting) and said all was confirmed. I turned to leave and she called after me.
"What was your name?"
MY FUCKING NAME IS THE ONE THAT WAS ON YOUR FUCKING COMPUTER SCREEN WHEN YOU LOOKED ME UP IN THE FIRST PLACE! If she spent half as much time and effort actually doing her job as she does painting ridiculous pictures on her fingernails there wouldn't be these problems. I left angry.
Is there a happy ending? Yes. 20 minutes later I walked through the park and watched a mum run after her 2 year old child saying "Leave that down. Leave it alone. It's dirty". The little boy had found a used condom and was running around waving it in the air.
If a sight like that doesn't lift your spirits...well, you probably work at the reception at Woodlands Health Centre.