Wordpretzels, sorry I haven’t posted anything recently, but I temporarily lost my enthusiasm with an acute attack of – gout.
Go, on. Laugh. Everybody does.
However, this turned out to be one of the worst cases of gout in medical history. Because of my amazingly high pain threshold, I didn’t scream out in agony and insist on somebody calling an ambulance. You would be aware, of course, that any other human being would probably have to be given a general anaesthetic and considered amputation. I, however, sighed and carried on regardless, even if I couldn’t put my shoes on to go to (almost) voluntary work.
I waited for the gout to go, but it refused. After five weeks of suffering, pain and depression – for my family, I mean – Lady Barton St Mary insisted I visit the doctor or seriously consider amputation. Of my head.
So, I made the appointment. Checking in at the computerised system in the rural surgery, I discovered I was seeing the newest member of the practice.
It turned out that she was young, but, as I’m rapidly discovering, most people in positions of authority or power are these days.
She couldn’t have been much older than my daughter Miss Katherine. I explained my predicament, diagnosed the problem and asked for some suitable drugs.
She examined my foot and frowned.
“You say you’ve had it X-rayed?” she enquired. I told her I had.
She considered for a moment. I studied her face. Gosh, she was young. I bet she was a Spice Girls fan, like Miss Katherine. She would probably been part of the group of giggling 7 year olds I took to see ‘Spiceworld – The Movie’ back in the late 90s. Now, here she was considering my health. I bet she also had a little red plastic bag and a toy stethoscope at the time. ‘Doctor Spice’.
She considered other options ; an infection, but, no, it hadn’t spread; a septic joint, but again, no spreading of infection. Eventually, she agreed with me and produced a big, thick book. With a little effort, she hefted the book open half way, licked her index finger and flipped over a few pages.
“I’m going to prescribe Colchicine,” she announced, ” that should do the trick.”
There was a pause as she considered something.
“I think you should take one pill, four times a day, with a maximum dosage of 6 milligrams,” she announced in a rather formal medical way. Then she considered again.
“Although perhaps it should be two pills, three times a day.”
Another frown passed across her smooth, wrinkle free, child face.
“I see you’re in education,” she said, “do you teach maths?”
I stared at her momentarily, wondering how maths could be a cause of my gout. I swallowed hard as I tried to connect long multiplication with uric acid levels.
“Erm… yes, actually, I do,” I replied tentatively.
“Thank goodness! I’m crap at maths! These pills are 500 micrograms, so what’s that in milligrams?” she asked me, her big blue eyes wide with anticipation.
My head swam for a moment. Perhaps it was ‘bring your daughter to work day’ and she’d knocked out her doctor mother with chloroform, hidden her in the broom cupboard and taken over for the day.
“Well, there’s a thousand micrograms in a milligram, so if I take 2 pills a day for 6 days, that would be 6 milligrams. I think.”
She patted my arm, thanked me and wrote out the prescription.
‘Now, just wait outside and the nurse will take a blood sample,” she explained, as I stared into the mid distance. I wandered out of her office and down the corridor. A cheerful, reassuringly middle aged nurse in a Christmas hat greeted me.
‘Hello! Just take a seat there! Hopefully you’ll have a big juicy vein for me!’
It was too late to tell her that the whole blood taking thing made me squeamish. I don’t mind the sight of blood, as long as it isn’t mine. I sat in the big blood letting chair, relieving my wobbly legs.
“I’ll just check your address,” she said, “2 Culvert Street?”
“No. No, that’s not my address.”
“Oh. So you’re not Mr Ramsey?”
“No I’m not.”
She studied her pc screen for a moment then smiled.
“Actually, I should have known. It’s Mrs Ramsey.”
“Phew. Good job you noticed,” I commented, “I’d hate to find out I’m pregnant next week.”
“What? Oh haha, yes!” she laughed.
It was then I noticed that the nurse was wearing a piece of wadding on the inside of her arm, held on with some medical tape, indicating a recent blood test. I tensed up as my imagination ran riot. It was obvious now. The whole, remote, rural doctors’ surgery had been taken over by the patients, eager to practise their skills on other unsuspecting individuals. I waited for the pulsing beat of ‘Stop Right Now’ to emanate from the office of my little girl GP.
She smiled at me. I nodded towards her arm.
“I see you’ve had a test yourself,” I remarked.
Her expression darkened.
“Yes, and now I’m going to take all of your blood. ALL OF IT! AAH HAH HAH HAH HAH…”
Was what happened in my imagination.
Back in reality, Nurse Jean explained she’d been poorly herself and had another nurse take her blood.
“It caused a bit of amusement when the doctor saw me,” she chuckled, plunging a needle into my arm.
I made my way to the dispensary, expecting to see the caretaker, mop in one hand, pestle and mortar in the other. But, reassuringly, it was the normal severe looking woman staring shark-like at me from behind the sliding glass.
I handed over the prescription and my £8.20, hoping I hadn’t overdosed myself.
I’m now safely home and the drugs appear to be working. Perhaps I should