When the doc shakes your
hand in a certain way,
you know you're doomed
'Tighten your sphincter – and – relax,' encouraged a man in civilian dress sitting a mere sword's-length away. I followed instructions. 'Three repetitions of 10 – twice a day,' he said, moving directly on to demonstrate some standing exercises.
Afterwards, scribbling away, he continued, 'all these problems will have ruined your quality of life over the years I suppose'. It wasn’t a question. I was tempted to say the local swimming pool had banned me for resembling a gay Tarzan trailing a pink wake up and down the lane. But that would sound – Tarzanist.
Proposed changes to NHS working practices may preclude patients from gratutitious references to fictional jungle dwellers regardless of sexuality. 'If this is a pre-op consultation,' I caution myself, 'don't get caught up in the whole NHS/ Tarzan thing'. They’re already going on strike in two weeks, any false move could prove fatal – bed-pans could be whipped from under a chap in one desperate movement – anything could happen.
'I thought I was here for a biopsy doc?' – got the dressing gown, Camus and everything – 'is this something else?'. That throws him into a swivel towards the computer screen. In a couple of clicks he turns, 'That's next week – the 12th of June – today's about your pelvic floor'.
It seemed trite to mention we'd just laid a floating floor in the new kitchen. 'Ah, the inner floating floor,' I squeeze in, as if it were an everyday consideration; which it is.
'Nicely put,' he said, handing over a leaflet with a pen drawing of bisected genitalia that looked like an early Damian Hirst.
Standing to leave, we shook hands and he enclosed mine by placing his left hand on top. A politician's doubler – we've all seen them. Harbingers of doom they are. 'I know something you don't', that grip proclaims.
'So – let's have you back next week for the Big Finale,' he beamed. Or was it an unnecessary reminder to tighten the sphincter?
George Chalmers is a writer and community worker