A dangerous world

Monday January 9, 2006

Today was to have been a Tesco’s day, with a possible side trip into Boston for coffee and a taste of town life.

Didn’t work out that way because Graham, who’s been suffering a mild dose of a ‘flu-like infection, felt he needed one more day in the warm and dry before tackling the big wide world. I’ve been a tiny bit under the weather, too, though I put it down to the post Christmas/New Year pig-out, more especially to the days since, when we’ve been wading through the last of the grab-bag of goodies I shoved into the trolley on the one day I had for shopping.

I wonder, though, at both cases. I’ve heard that this year the winter ‘flu is almost a non-event, being a re-run of a strain from a couple of years back, one to which most of us have a degree of immunity. Without wishing to tempt fate, my level of immunity was boosted by my ‘flu jab, so it could be that we’ve both of us had ‘flu without knowing it. That’d be good in a way, building resistance to whatever may come along during the rest of the winter.

So, not really wanting to go over to Tesco’s on my own, I opted for a quick visit to Spilsby, calling in to the doctor’s surgery for my monthly prescription pack and to make an appointment with the G.P. who specialises in cardiac treatment for a chat and a quick check up.

There are two windows, side-by-side, in the reception area, one for prescriptions, the other for appointments, each with its own queue and each with its own computer terminal into the surgery’s system. It’s been my experience that, if you need both services, the woman at the window will happily deal with them.

Not today. Having obtained my pack of medication at the second try—the first pack was for someone else—I asked nicely if I could make an appointment with Dr. W. while I was there.

“You’ll have to go to the other window for that,” she said.

“Ah. Fair enough.”

And off I shuffled to the back of the other queue while she, having no other customers, went back to her cup of tea.

Now, let’s be clear. She was in the right. Even so, she’d have saved me a wait, spending longer on my feet that I like to do even with my stick. Was she right, did she behave in a caring manner over this small issue? I have my doubts.

You dare not complain, though. Not at being handed the wrong medication, nor at being refused a tiny diversion from procedure in the interest of care. One word out of place and you’re struck from the surgery’s list.

Hey ho. It’s an observable fact that not everyone, not even those in the caring professions, understands that care is made up of tiny acts, of gentleness and understanding, not in themselves greatly significant but which, in the round, create a society of respect and support one for the other. Sad, but true. When it comes to care, rules and regulations are not enough.

When I got to the front of the appointments line I was handled by a different woman who couldn’t have been nicer and more helpful. Shame that good behaviour isn’t infectious like the winter ‘flu. I was glad to get out of there, away from the coughs and sneezes and the glare of the lackadaisical don’t-care care assistant.

I picked up a few necessaries from the Co-op, returned to the car to stow them, and then strolled up through the town to the dispensing chemists to get Graham a Sinex spray. The weekly market was just about packed up but I made a point of walking past the flower stall to see if there was anything left over. Nothing but a few bedraggled blooms left over from the rush. Clearly, other folks had felt a need for flowers today, not just me. That’s catching, too. No matter. I’ll see what I can do tomorrow.

“How’d you do?” Graham asked, as I came back into the house.

“Oh, fine,” I said. “I encountered five different coughs and several runny noses out there but I kept my distance.”

“Good. It’s a dangerous world out there.”

“You’re telling me, chooky boots.”



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