Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Under pressure...

Today I had to bite the GP bullet and make a trip to visit the practice nurse at my doctors. I was there to have my regular six-monthly blood pressure check. Sadly, due to a variety of reasons (which escape me now) my six-monthly check was more than four years overdue.

Yes, I said years and not months. Well, I don’t like being pressured and let’s face it I’m doing the NHS a favour by staying away. They’re always telling people not to go to their GP’s unnecessarily, so that’s what I’ve been doing. Besides, if they found anything wrong they’d feel they had to treat me and that would take up even more of their time and resources. Ultimately I may even become a bigger cost when, by keeping me alive, I block a hospital bed whilst waiting for a nursing home place to become available. Not that I would know what a nursing home is by then, or even who or what I am. So all in all I’m saving the National Health a blinkin’ fortune.

Anyway, back to my blood pressure check. Just why she’s called a practice nurse seemed a little odd because she knew exactly what she was doing and took my blood pressure without making a single mistake. As she cuffed me up I was tempted to say: “That’s almost an armful” in my best Tony Hancock voice but, as it wasn’t really relevant and she wouldn’t have a clue what I was referring to anyway, I managed to restrain the impulse.

Happily, she (let’s call her nurse B after Barbara Windsor) didn’t lecture me about my lengthy absence or ask why I’d been ignoring the almost monthly reminder letters that I’ve been sent. She did ask if it was the ‘final demand’ threatening to remove me from THE PATIENT LIST and have me flung into the GP wilderness never to return that did the trick. I had to admit to nurse B that it had influenced me, but alongside that I fancied a morning hanging around in the doctor’s waiting room because I’d not seen it for so long.

‘Should I mention tea and biscuits?’ I wondered, but thought better of it, even though it was going swimmingly and I felt a bond (The name’s James, James Bond) growing between us. We seemed to understand each other and I considered simply calling her ‘B’, dropping the nurse precursor, but decided it would not do to become overly familiar. It might upset the patient/nurse balance and the last thing I wanted was to topple over. It might look like I was a scaredy-cat – which I am. Anyway, nurse B expertly took my blood pressure without further ado and I’m pleased to say that not only was it perfectly normal but it was lower than it has been for years.

Of course she asked me the usual questions afterwards. I gave up smoking years back so that wasn’t an issue, although apparently my nighty intake of a bottle of wine is a ‘little excessive’. I didn’t mention the daytime drinking as I thought that might be pushing it, but I did mention that I think it’s the red wine and staying away from the medical profession that keeps my blood pressure down. Of course, I added as an aside, the four different tablets I’ve been popping for the last twenty-five years and which my body is now addicted to may also help. I gave my best Sid James chuckle and I’m almost sure that she almost smiled… Well, I am a charmer.

Nurse B asked me if I’d like her to weigh me and I truthfully answered: ‘Not particularly’. She accepted without complaint or any argument and I suspected that she had the health of her scales in mind more than mine, so was probably pleased that I’d declined her kind offer. I did tell her that I was trying to reduce my food intake, but rather than weigh myself regularly I was waiting for my trousers to become loose and fall down. I’m a regular Brian Rix you know, but I could have sworn that she smiled for a second. Make that double charmer.

We chatted for a while about this and that, mainly about how I liked being retired and did I manage to keep busy. I replied that I loved the freedom retirement had brought me because now, after a few lunchtime pints, I could settle down to watch Tipping Point and The Chase before breaking into my first – sorry only – bottle of red wine of the evening. Of course I said this with a wicked twinkle in my eye whilst moving my glasses up and down like Eric Morecombe.

All in all, it all went jolly well, a good time was had by all and I was pleased to be able to brighten up nurse B’s probably otherwise dull day. As I left she gave me a wad of forms to take to the hospital for some blood checks along with a tiny plastic pot to piss in. I can pop the pot into front desk at reception at any time. And I will.

Probably in few years time.

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