Saturday, August 27, 2011

Oh doctor, I’m in trouble

A plain-clothed man appeared in the corridor and walked between the waiting patients. Stethoscope slung nonchalantly around his neck and with his headphones on, he asked the receptionist to buzz him out.

Was he a doctor? I wondered. Was he my doctor? Maybe he was just popping out to do an informal home visit, I thought, rather generously. But no, he reappeared after a couple of minutes and I, together with the others waiting in the reception area, were subjected to a wave of stale cigarette smoke as he passed by.

With his Italianate looks (dark complexion, greased-back hair, open shirt), I was secretly praying that this was not the “Dr Silvio” that was scrawled on the piece of paper clenched in my right hand. I recalled a story my friend Tony once shared about a visit to an Italian hospital not too long ago. He needed a jab in the arm and the doctor diligently administered the required injection with one hand, while balancing a cigarette in the other.

He closed his surgery door. Nothing to indicate a name, except for a rather disconcerting list of medical specialties:

UROLOGIA
NEUROLOGIA
CLÍNICA GERAL

Really?

I was here due to a relapse of the flu. I had resolved to fight it off without recourse to real drugs, but by this time I had maxed-out my extra strength ibuprofen and I thought of plundering the medicine cabinet of the house for something, anything that might make talking, eating or - heck - breathing possible without it feeling like my tonsils were being sandpapered. I had even entertained accepting the offer of antibiotics from a colleague, but before I could say the words drug resistant superbug I found myself pencilling-in the appointment with said Dr Silvio.

The lawyer in me began dissecting the now-omnipresent (even in the Third World) “Mission Statement,” which I assume was posted in the waiting area to reassure naturally anxious patients that they are in caring, competent hands. All I could notice was the inclusion of spaces before the commas (and not after), which grated me.
 
Bill Nighy, Front Row (BBC Radio 4, 23rd August, 2011)

Anyway, after all the self-righteous sermonising about the perils of doctors who dish-out antibiotics like candy, all I wanted was something to stop the pain and, within minutes, I was trotting off to the farmácia to get my antibiotics fix.

Ah, all is well in world.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Luke...did you hear about the Neurofen Plus tablets that have been sabotaged?
No, really, packets containing strips of other drugs have been inserted into the original box!! Warnings have been broadcast!
Never take for granted what's in the box.
Keep taking the tablets! mx

Luke said...

Yikes! That's bad...but it could some potentially comical effects.

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