Well, I know what Im not.

Last week I was sick, and I wrote about it here, and there was some kind of consensus both in the comment box (readers) and on the phone (mother) that I should round off the experience by making a visit to the Doctor on Monday morning.

There are two reasons that this did not happen.
1) I was quite clearly better and
b) You havent met my doctor.

My doctor, as I think Ive mentioned before, is a no-nonsense South African woman with a businesslike Dahnt Fack With Me and dahnt waste ma time style that I admire in a GP. In the few times Ive been to visit her, Ive generally been impressed with her willingness to cut the crap and get this over with, and I like to think that shes equally impressed with my ability not to be over 90 and/or addicted to heroin, which I imagine sets me apart from around 85% of the rest of the patients in her busy inner-city surgery, or it does as far as I can see.

She always seems slightly exasperated when I go in there and there IS something wrong with me, so you can imagine that the prospect of booking an emergency appointment just so I can walk in there and say

Hello Doctor! I was sick over the weekend, but now Im fine, and there WERE little bumps all over my tonsils, but they totally arent there any more! Look!

fills me with an almost indescribable dread.

Also, I just dont like bothering people much. At all. If I can just get by in life without causing anyone any trouble, or anyone really noticing Im there, that suits me fine.

Youre talking to a woman who, the one time there WAS actually something wrong with her (the first time I dislocated my shoulder) lay on a gurney in a hospital corridor reassuring nurses that she was absolutely fine, thanks! Great! (in fact) every time she was asked; until they worked out that she wasnt because she started gibbering incoherently then passed out from the pain. Which I then apologised for as soon as they gave me some drugs.

So no, I didnt go to the doctor over the throat infection that had gone away by the time I could have. If you had met her, you would think this entirely fair.

(for those with time on their hands, I will illuminate after the read more sign)


I did go to the doctor a few months ago. It was that visit that convinced me that perhaps confident self-diagnosis was the way forward, for now at least.

It ran like this:

Sah whut seems to be the problim, Muzz Pickahd?
Well, I havent seemed to have a [whispers] period in some-many months, and

Actually no, that wasnt how it went. It went like this:

Hallo Maddum, are you registering with the surgery? Yeh dahnt need teh see me, yah nah! The nurse can handle thet for you!
Um – no, Im already registered
Yes, youve been my doctor for more than a year

Are you sure?
Well, youre not in the system

And then there were five or six minutes of swearing at computer software and shouting at receptionists until my records were found.

THEN it went like this.

Sah what seems to be the problim, Muzz Pickahd?
Well, I havent seemed to have a period in some-many months, and
You think youre prignent?
No, not really, I mean, I hope not, Im on this pill
Whut pill?
And WHERE did you get that?

(A pause)

From this surgery.
Oh? Rilly?

Yes. From you. I had to come in for regular check-ups because of high blood pressure, and we decided this pill was much better for my blood pressure and you gave me this pill, and said if there were any problems I should come back and make sure I saw you. Um Yes.

(another pause. there is clearly one person in the room who does not believe another)

Well, as long as you take it assiduously at the same time every day, there isnt any way in the world you can be prignent

I paused. I did not want to get shouted at.

But I dont take it assiduously every day. Not as well as I might. I mean, recently Ive been changing time zones a lot, and its quite hard, and

And now you think youre prignent

Wow. Doctor with a one track mind.

No, I did a test, I dont think Im pregnant. Thats what Im worried about. Why am I not pregnant, and yet suffering all these pregnancy-type symptoms if Im, you know, NOT pregnant?

Maybe the test was wrong?

I did two tests.


And Ive been feeling quite woozy, and occasionally nauseous, and really tired, and just generally off-kilter and anxious, and

Well, that can happen!


With this pill! It says in this pamphlet I would have given you with the pills, if I gave you the pills.

You did

I give this to everyone, so I would have given it to you. Look, page 14, somewhere on here? Ah yis: sometimes this name-of-pill may cause more bleeding less bleeding, all bleeding or Nah bleeding!

Oh right. But quite apart from that, I havent been feeling at all well

But youre not prignant, Muzz Pickard!

Oh, no, well, I didnt think I was. I thought it might be, I dont know, stress or something?

This, lets face it, was the crux of the matter. I was at this point – a couple of months ago this was – working myself into a tizzy, with no idea how to stop myself from doing that or find a way to do it non-detrimentally to myself. I was struggling mentally, emotionally, and now physically, and not being very good at looking after myself, and not having bothered her very much for the last year and a bit – not enough to be memorable, clearly – I just wanted her as a healthcare professional to say Yes, maybe it IS stress. Maybe you need to slow down, sort things out. Instead, she had decided what it was I wanted to hear. And it wasnt this.

I mean, I have been quite under pressure and busy recently, I just didnt know whether these symptoms might fit with any kind of
Well it might be
Or it might not. Could be lots of things! But whatever it is, Muzz Pickahd, dahnt worry; youre not prignent!

Um. Thanks.

Think YOU! Good day!

I left the surgery and phoned my beloved.

What did she say?

Im not pregnant.

You didnt think you were, did you?

No. No I didnt.