Age and indignities go together. In the grossly overregulated state of NSW I’m now required to have my doctor sign off on my fitness to drive each year. Hoons on the road requiring institutionalisation are however free of medical or psychological restraints.
Anyway, I learned to my shock that my doctor had retired at Christmas. I asked whether that was allowed, to make light of the situation. The lady receptionist exhibited no hint of humour in her demeanour. Could I see somebody else I asked. One seeming problem, now only women GPs remained in the practice. Look I am not sexist, well I am a little, but in any event I feels more comfortable with a male doctor. I have never had a female doctor. I would accept one in an emergency of course – I think it was a woman who cut open my stomach last year – but otherwise I don’t want to change. OK feminism and all that but there’s wall-to-wall women wherever you look. And white male GPs are getting as rare as hens’ teeth.
A breakthrough. I was informed that a new-to-the-practice male doctor comes in two days week. I’ll book I said. Will you take an eye test before with an optometrist, she said? I’ve never done that I said. My doctor has always done that. Well, she replied, we don’t know whether the new doctor does that and won’t be able to ask him until he comes in – which happened to be the day of my proposed appointment. Catch 22.
Clearly there was no chance of her contacting the doctor beforehand to ask him. I was reminded of the lady in Little Britain: “The computer says no.” I needed time to reflect and left without booking an appointment. I’ll go in again next week, book an appointment and take a chance on the doctor doing or not doing an eye test. At least I’ll find out.
There are usually two people at the reception desk. I’ll make a bee-line for the other one. Eventually there will be no choice – for any of us.
“…No memory of having starred / Atones for later disregard / Or keeps the end from being hard. / Better to go down dignified / with boughten friendship at your side / Than none at all. / Provide, provide!” – Or someone will provide for ya (Robert Frost adds at the end of his reading of his poem Provide, Provide.)