27 February 2017

GP Surgery Blues (or Yellows)

Sitting in the GP's surgery is not a barrel of laughs. My local surgery has four doctors and one nurse, so at any one time there is usually at least eight or ten patients (with or without family members) waiting to be seen. Most avoid eye contact and, because they are generally unwell, they have a world-weary look about them that suggests they are on their last. The silence is  only perforated by the ring of the telephones and the two receptionists' whispered comments to the caller.

The only entertainment  is a handful of well-thumbed magazines (vintage 2015) and an electronic wall screen reminding you to switch off your mobile phone, how to recognise the signs of  meningitis, how to treat a loved one with dementia or avoid malaria if going abroad. Like I say, not a barrel of laughs.

Of course, the wall screen has the main function of flashing up the patient's name and directing you to the right consulting room, but in between, the list of dreary reminders about dementia, malaria and meningitis pop up on continuous loop. God knows why, but I always make a point of getting to  the surgery far too early  - about 10 or even 15 minutes before my appointment. I don't like to be late for anything and the wait allows me to compose myself and get my brain into gear. But even once I've seen the adverts, turned off my mobile, taken stock of who I think is ahead of me in the queue, I've still got time to fry an omelette.

Image result for doctors waiting room
courtesy of gponline.com

This morning was different. Entertainment-wise, that is. There was a young woman with a little girl around the age of two or possibly three with an adorable face and her long hair scraped back into two jaunty bunches. They sat down in the row in front of me. The ads continued to flash on the screen. 

"It's my name," said the little girl pointing quite excitedly.

"No," said the mother "it's an advert. That's not your name."

The screen flashed to another ad.

"It's my name now," said the little one again, jumping up and down on her seat and pointing animatedly. 

"No, it's not," said the mother with a world-weary tone.

"It's my name now," shouted the little girl, as the screen changed yet again.

"Look," said the mum, "when the doctor calls you it's black writing on a yellow  background. Look out for the yellow." 

A few people smirked. Just then, a blue and white screen gave advice on how to stop smoking.

"It's my name" said the little girl, pointing vigorously.

By now a few people in the room were trying very hard to smile without moving their face muscles.

"I told you to look for the yellow background with black writing. Is that yellow?"

The little girl looked sternly as if she was trying to visualise yellow.

Then the screen showed the meningitis ad again - on a yellow background.


The whole waiting erupted into giggles. 

I tell you, the surgery ought to employ that little girl. She brought a smile to everyone's face and best of all got every  body talking!


Yorkshire Pudding said...

Was the little girl's name Meningitis...or perhaps Menny for short?...You are very lucky to have such new magazines in your surgery. Ours mainly date from the sixties. There's an interview with Harold Wilson. He is smoking a pipe in his Gannex mac. They should check those magazines for bacteria.

Valerie said...

I do so hate those wall screens, they are so depressing. A surgery should show cheerful films. I used to take new magazines to the surgery but when on another occasion I looked for one (of mine) they had all gone. That's one way to save money, I guess.

Flowerpot said...

Ah bless her! We all need a bit of cheer!

Polly said...

Isn't it nice once the ice is broken and everyone smiles and talks.