The doctor eyed me suspiciously as I walked into her consulting room. ‘Ye-es?’ she said, nervously, eyeing me up and down, after I knocked softly and entered apologetically, as I always do.
Whenever I go to see her, my GP gives the impression of being taken totally by surprise, and put to astonishing inconvenience, by my seeking her opinion on a medical matter, even though she is advertising herself as a general practitioner and has, I am assuming, various qualifications in this field.
‘Ye-es?’ she said, looking mortified, terrified and outraged on every level as I made my way to the chair by her desk. She never says anything else by way of small talk or introduction, by the way. No ‘hello’ or ‘how are you?’ or ‘what can I do for you?’ Just ‘ye-es?’ And that look that says she has no idea why she is here or what she is doing. (She was sure they said she would have to sit in a chair and fill out forms all day. No one said anything about meeting sick people. This one doesn’t even look ill. How is she supposed to know what’s wrong with her?)
I told her I was feeling dizzy. It had started suddenly. One minute I was fine, the next minute I bent down to pick out my horse’s feet and I fell over. I couldn’t get my balance back and it was now a week later and it had not returned. I was getting rather worried. I had been in bed for days because I couldn’t even move my eyes from side to side without falling over. I was all right so long as I stared straight ahead but if I changed my head position even a little, or looked right or left, I was a gonna.
She stared at me, a look of pure disgust on her face. Against all her instincts, she was going to have to do something. She got her pointy ear examiner and looked in my ears. ‘They’re all right,’ she said flatly.
‘Are you sure?’ I said. ‘Because when I drive up and down hills my ears pop like they’re blocked or something.’
‘No. They’re all right,’ she said. And she got her blood pressure paraphernalia out and strapped it to my arm. ‘Bit high,’ she said, on reading the monitor. ‘Probably stressed.’ And then she sat back in her chair and stared at me blankly like the girl who says ‘computer says no’.
‘Look, can you do something, please, because I really can’t go on like this.’
She tapped at her computer. I thought for a minute she was actually going to say ‘computer says no’ but she said, ‘Take one of these three times a day,’ and handed me a prescription.
‘Will it make me better? What is it that’s wrong?’
Blank look. Shrug. ‘If it doesn’t get better come back.’
Fine. I thanked her and left. At least I had got something. This was better than the time I told her I was in the menopause and all she said was, ‘No, you’re not.’ And sent me home to sweat myself half to death.
So I bought my prescription from the chemist next door and started pill-popping. I didn’t notice much difference in the dizziness and, in fact, I felt a lot more dizzy when I eventually read the leaflet that came with the pills, which revealed themselves to be an ‘anti-psychotic’ used to treat schizophrenia. They could also be used for extreme dizziness but all the same, this was a bit rum.
In the absence of anything else, I carried on taking them, however, and while the dizziness didn’t improve I did start to feel rather good: calmer, more relaxed and happy, so that it seemed to me that the dizziness didn’t matter. I slept at night for the first time since the blasted change of life started.
I was so pleased and in such a positive mood that I took myself off for a massage. And it was during this massage, when the masseur started pressing my forehead and face, that a huge feeling of pressure suddenly exploded in my nose and eyes and I realised I had blocked sinuses.
I ran back to the chemist and bought some decongestant and a few hours later my nose streamed, my ears popped and I realised I had been half deaf. Best of all, my dizziness started to lift. A week later my balance had returned completely.
My dilemma now is this: do I go back to the GP and tell her I’m a bit miffed that she misdiagnosed a blocked nose as schizophrenia. Or do I go along with it and keep taking the anti-psychotic drugs which, I have discovered, work wonders for menopause?
It would serve her right if I did.
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