Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Provocative Agents.

“I’m sorry your appointments have been cancelled. I don’t know what else to tell you”. This was all the nurse had to say to a room full of outpatients all having got up at the crack of dawn, all having negotiated miles of traffic and all having depended on other people to facilitate their being there. Hubby, hours before driving up to Cranfield Uni to continue his efforts at higher academia had to stay with the children whilst I got myself up and out of the door to be at the hospital by 9.30 a.m. Mine was supposedly the first appointment. I thought it ominous that another, then another, then another patient arrived and I hadn’t even been seen. One woman was there as an ‘emergency’, although her GP had asked for an appointment back in November. Another in a wheel –chair, her husband armed with newspapers to entertain him during his wait.
“Well”, I said, “The neurologist won’t be up to speed on our ailments. He can’t have read our notes. He hasn’t even arrived yet”.
“Maybe that’s what he’s doing now”, suggested another patient, hopefully.
“Wouldn’t have thought so”, said another, “All our notes are on the table in the corridor”. We all fell silent again, like a room full of strangers does until, buoyed by confidence in a shared experience someone else says something that will get a reaction of agreement.
“This has happened to me before”, said a lady. This of course opened a flood gate of NHS mishaps, disasters and ineptness and we were all getting on like a house on fire, sharing stories of cancellations and near death experiences, still at this point hopeful that we would be seen in the next few minutes, when the nurse stuck her head into the room and told us the bad news. There was a collective groan of disappointment mingled, unfortunately with resignation before we all trooped out of the day room into the corridor where a red faced appointments clerk battled with her computer.
Of course it goes without saying that the next appointment she could give was sometime in March. I reversed my car park out of a car park where I’d just spent £2.30 for the privilege of parking – we could have got our money back apparently from some cash office somewhere in the hospital but, apart from it being a palaver to do so, should every patient visiting the hospital claim when operations and appointments were cancelled then I feel the drain on the NHS would only cause further cuts.
My arrival at home was met, not unusually, with chaos. Hubby, having packed the night before was incandescent with rage as the Red-Head had somehow prised open his suitcase and put a couple of chocolate digestive biscuits on top of his white shirts. Farcically, the suitcase had been left near a radiator, so that when Hubby went to lift his case to put in the car, the case fell open only to disclose chocolate brown, smeared shirts.
The Red-Head’s protestations that she only wanted to give Daddy a “phesant” did nothing to allay his fury.
I put my bag down. “Take it easy love”, I said, “She really did just want to give you a present, unfortunately, you got more than you bargained for”. I removed the shirts and shoved them into the washing machine, went upstairs, opened Hubby’s side of the wardrobe and pulled out two, unsullied white shirts. I brought them downstairs and handed them to him and, somewhat mollified, he kissed my head and placed them in his suitcase. Gathering various briefcases, armfuls of textbook tomes and his laptop, he stooped for one last kiss before leaving.
“Oh, I’m fine, don’t you worry about me”, I called after him sarcastically, “I don’t have to have major spinal surgery”.
Swearing rather profusely he turned on his heels, “Sorry Alice love. I just need to get away and get on with my studies. What did the consultant say?”
“He didn’t turn up”, I replied. Hubby looked askance, “Didn’t turn up?”
I shook my head. “Look I’ll call you later”, Hubby said, “and we’ll talk about it then. Look after yourself and my babies”. Then, kissing me again, he left. Within seconds of me having waved him off, he returned.
“Bugger, I forgot to tell you. Mags is having some crisis and is on her way around”, he put his arms around me, “I really am off now”, he murmured into my hair and with yet another kiss he left.
I’d barely put the kettle on before Mags fell through the front door, heaving a suitcase behind her.
“It’s my turn to leave Alice”, she panted, “I’ve had it up to here with him”. I looked at the clock, it was past midday – a sherry was permissible. I poured us both a glass and took her into my sitting room.
“What’s happened?” I asked gently.
“Well, you know that it was Valentine’s day?” How could I forget? My day had been spent looking after sick kids. Romantic it was not.
“Well”, she continued, “Things haven’t been regular in a certain department if you know what I mean?” Was she kidding? My celibacy is reverential in its devotion.
“Well, anyway, Mum had the kids overnight; I cooked a glorious dinner and had my best, slutty clothes on. Honestly Alice, I couldn’t have spelled it out more clearly, my shirt was see-through and my undergarments positively harlotesque”.
“So what happened?” I asked.
“He ate his dinner. Didn’t allude to the fact that my bra was showing and when we went upstairs and undressed, he just said, ‘Oh you’ve still got your undies on. Are you staying up to read The Kite Runner then?” I shook my head.
“I bought those knickers and stockings from Agent Provocateur as well”.“Listen Mags”, I said sagely, “Wine and underwear are much the same. Unless the man is a connoisseur, then a budget of £4.99 usually does the trick”.


Mary Alice said...

He seems the sort that doesn't go for the whispered message...she needs to shout...and go even more inexpensively, with no undies whatsoever.

Just a bloke said...

It seems a sad fact but these problems with the NHS are becoming the norm.

As a fella I agree with the £4.99 rule I mean doesn't the wrapping paper always just end up in the bin on Christmas day?

It does seem odd him not taking an interest and not wanting to cause panic but could he be playing away? On a slightly more serious note, if he's not perhaps a sympathetic wife could encourage him to see a doctor as he may have a male problem he has been to shy to address before. If he can get an appointment that is!

Alice Band said...

Mary ALice - quite right. Bit chilly here at the moment and we Brits don't have our central heating on through the night.

Alice Band said...

just a bloke - Playing away or gay - either is possible surely!
Hvae more NHS outings in the next couple of months, I'll let you know how I get on!