Diagnose – then Adios

(C) 2017 Edward C Lunnon / 11 Years on … / Advantage CBD


So today was the day I had been looking forward to for two months. 

In August, it became time for me to see the neurologist. It was my annual pilgrimage. Not because I want to, but because I have to. Discovery wants those darn forms filled in again. Is there any chance that a miracle has cured my incurable disease, and they can stop paying my monthly disability allowance? There were also new problems which I had to discuss. So the timing worked out well.

I was lucky when I made the appointment. It would only be a tw0-month wait this time. Thursday 12 October it would be – thank God not Friday the 13th! …”And don’t forget to bring your R150 cash levy”, were the closing words of our conversation.

I made two more calls after that to check on the date and to see if there was any luck of a cancellation. There wasn’t, but there was a “don’t forget to bring your R150 cash levy” reminder!

Yesterday, Wednesday, I received a call from the rooms just to remind me of my appointment at 10h20 and not to “forget to bring your R150 cash levy”. 

Today, before I left home I drew up my list of things I needed to discuss with the Doctor.

I arrive at 10am – a bit early, paid my R150 levy and watched three patients go in before me.

10h30 and it was my turn … Good morning.

Dr (from the chair behind his desk): So what can I do for you?

Ed: I have this form that needs to be completed.

D: I’ll have to do that over the weekend and that will cost extra.

D (pages through form and fires a few questions at me): Are you walking with a stick? Can you wash yourself? Dress? Write? … What medication are you taking?

E: Carbolev and Lyrica

D: Strength?

E: I can’t remember. But can ask the pharmacy …

D: Can you travel alone? Oh yes, I saw you at the airport the other day.

Phone rings and Dr spends next five minutes talking to another doctor.

Dr: Sorry about that. As I said, I’ll have to do the form on the weekend and that’s going to cost you extra.

E: My left hip is extremely sore. It starts in my bum and goes all the way down to the foot. The foot wants to turn inwards and downwards. It doesn’t want to be at 90 degrees at the ankle – rather wants to be straight. Rivotril has helped before. Can you give me a script for more?  And for pain pills?

D (paging through file): You saw Dr G (neurosurgeon) last year.

E: No, that was for my back. I had two operations, remember? I wasn’t able to walk upright and the neurosurgeon operated and got me walking again.

D (whilst writing on his pad): Well start at the bottom with X-rays on the hip. You can go to Greenacres or S Geeorges and then either phone me for the results or come and see me. What strength Rivotril?

E: I can’t remember. And then my eyes are becoming increasingly worse. I’m struggling to see. I’ve discussed with the ophthalmologist and optician.

D: It’s not your eyes that’s the problem. It’s the brain. It can’t decipher what the eyes are seeing.

E: Is it part of the disease? Do other patients also have eyeproblems? Will it get worse?

D: Yes, it’s part of the disease. And if the disease gets worse then your sight will too.

D: (Passes the note pages across the desk and gets up from his chair and heads  for the door): Are you driving or do you still make use of a driver? 

E (I get up too): Driver. It’s the most difficult thing to accept …not being able to drive.

D (He opens the door and shows me out):  Goodbye Mr Lunnon.

Fifteen minutes after entering the consulting room, I walked out. 

I needed to order my driver, an Uber taxi, but I didn’t want to sit in the waiting room. So I walked out into the slight drizzle, crossed the road to the KFC, and stood in the rain.

Tiny drops of water ran over my specs, mingled with my tears and dropped down onto the screen of my phone.

When I got home, I scrunched up the paper on which I had written my list – most points not even asked, let alone answered.

And we’ve only just begun … (And the account hasn’t even arrived yet!)

(And there was no mention of pain pills in the script!)

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