7 Reasons You Shouldn’t go to the Doctor’s
1. Hand-wash. Little plastic dispensers of antiseptic hand-wash: They’re inside the main entrance, they’re in the reception area, they’re in the waiting room, they’re in the doctor’s office, they’re everywhere! They outnumber patients by about 40-1; they outnumber patients’ hands by about 20.5-1 (there was a one-armed man). Why could they possibly need so many? It will bother you.
2. Sick people. There are sick people at the doctor’s surgery, it’s full of them: Coughing, retching, groaning, wailing, with blotches, pustules, buboes and weeping sores; it’s more like Hell’s waiting room than Dr Butterworth’s. If I ever write a historical novel about the Black Death in medieval Europe I’ll visit the doctor’s for inspiration – and just hope I live long enough to complete it.
3. Light. The soulless, ceaseless hum of the fluorescent strip-lights is the soundtrack to your stay in the waiting room. Worse still, their glow bathes everything and everyone in an unnatural light, giving the room’s occupants a grey, bleached-out pallor that makes them appear unwell, even if they’re not.
4. Magazines. Due to the Swine Flu scare they no longer have magazines in my local surgery; no Country Life, no Woman’s Weekly – in fact, nothing to read at all. Presumably they think our hands would be too slick from the hand-wash to leaf through the pages. Fortunately, on my last visit to the doctor, I had a copy of Vanity Fair with me, so I pulled that out of my bag and began to read. My fellow patients – envious, I assume – saw my magazine and started moving toward it. They rose slowly from their seats and shuffled gradually forward, eventually forming a groaning, coughing semi-circle around me. With their fluorescent strip-light pallor, obvious wounds and missing limb they resembled the un-dead. Fortunately, the doctor called me in before they started to feast on my brains.*
5. Manliness. Convention has it that real men don’t visit the doctor. This is nonsense. If he has misplaced a limb, his elbow has unaccountably turned purple, or his urine is pure Bovril, a man should visit the doctor. In all other cases, he should soldier on.
6. Discouragement. They don’t want you to see you. Why would they? They might catch something dreadful or you might try to show them your hemorrhoids. If they really wanted to see you they would open outside of office hours and they’d give you an appointment less than a week into the future. They might also consent to visit you at home on occasions other than your imminent death. They do these things to discourage you from seeking medical advice. If you don’t go to see the doctor, their whole system runs more smoothly. And that’s the way they like it.
7. Feelings. Doctor’s surgeries aren’t just places to treat your physical ailments, they’re places that are concerned with your general wellbeing too. These days, they seem just as concerned with your emotional wellbeing as they are with your physical health. This isn’t necessarily a good thing:
Bond strode into the uncluttered, homely office. After some light conversation, the G.P. asked how he felt about his condition.
“Do you expect me to talk, Dr Blofeld?”
“No Mr Bond, I expect you to cry”
No one wants that, who knows where it may lead?
*Did I mention that I had a bit of a temperature?