I survived the bloke who coughed all over me in the waiting room as he read a leaflet about the flu jab pinned to the notice board above my head (no hankie, yuk).
And the toddler who toddled in my direction, licking snot from his nose in tandem with every step, eyes fixed eerily in my direction,a mangled teddy in his hands.
The doctor was lovely. We rearranged my prescription, I waited for it to be printed off and I left,relieved that it would be another year til I was there again.
Buoyed up with the ‘how easy was that?’ sensation, I parked outside the chemist to pick up my repeat prescription.
Big mistake. Huuuuuuge mistake.
The chemist is tiny. Opening the door, I counted eight people standing around waiting. I clutched my prescription, desperately seeking someone who would take it from me. Finally, a woman made her way through the crowd, plucked it from my hand and peered at it.
‘Oh! A change of prescription. Let’s see.’
(I’m slowly slinking backwards into the wall of decongestants)
I gave it. And my date birth. And my favourite TV shows.
‘Ah. I see you’re still on the BLADDER medication. Yes?’
(the assembled congregation are leaning forward, eagerly anticipating my answer) ‘Um, yup, if that’s ok, thank you very much.’
‘And the…let me see… NERVES?’
(wilts in corner, dying ever so slightly). ‘Not nerves, neuropathic (whispers) MS’.
(she peers over her glasses, looks me up and down, as do the assembled crowd).
‘Now. What about THIS one?’
I scribble my signature on the repeat prescription and joke with the woman next to me, ‘haha, being ill is like a full-time job.’ Lol.
She stared at me, devoid of any compassion, no doubt thinking back to the Benefits Row special live on Channel 5 the previous night.
I turned and absorbed myself in the Peppa Pig display, wondering if I should buy some bubble bath, just to look….normal.
Finally, I was rescued. A bag of medicine was thrust into my hands.
I love chemists. They helped me through The Nit Crisis (not me, The Teenager, when he was The Child) . They were there when I needed cough medicine. But confidentiality?
Well. My name is Stumbling, and I take bladder medication…