All By Myself

I had a strange experience this week which was like something from a thriller movie as everyone around me disappeared.

If I’d let off a schoolboy stink bomb or removed my shoes the place couldn’t have deserted more fully, leaving me wondering what I’d done wrong.

I’ve been going to an NHS specialist for a few months to see why I’m getting stomach cramps. Probably overweight, maybe stress, that kind of thing. So I do feel a bit of a fraud in Outpatients sitting next to people with real problems – though the only problem the guy next to me seemed to have was an addiction to his ‘phone, and language that hospital strength disinfectant and sanitiser couldn’t ever hope to clean up.

First up, a confession. I was late for my appointment. Five minutes late. I had found myself stuck in a queue in the car park, nose to tail, unmoving for fifteen minutes as people double parked in exasperation and caused blockages. I eventually parked ten minutes away and apologised as I checked in to be told it was normal, and I was directed upstairs to the waiting room.

After around fifteen minutes my name appearered on the TV screen asking me to come to the assessment room where I was weighed. Fair play to the nurse who didn’t laugh out loud as she read the scales and wrote the shameful number down on a slip of paper. She told me to go back to the waiting room and I’d be called by the specialist very soon.

An hour later I was alone. Completely isolated. No fellow patients, who had all been seen and gone home, no nurses, doctors, not even someone with a grumpy face pushing a mop. Zero.

I went back downstairs to the check in and was told everyone had gone home for the night as it was now six o’clock. On checking the system, they found that the specialist had marked me as absent after I’d already checked in. He was now singing along with the radio in a rush hour homeward crawl down the motorway, one thought on his dinner. Lucky man.

I called the next day, was given an apology, and told it wouldn’t count against me. But, today, I received a letter, telling me off for a no show, and offering me one last chance. I feel like a criminal.

So, moral of the story, I’ll go half an hour early next time, I’ll get there by bus, and if I end up on my own again I’ll check my deodorant and odour eaters are working before deciding to follow the consultant down the motorway and join him for dinner.

I don’t see why he shouldn’t be miserable as well.