Wednesday, August 31, 2016
So What Do You Do - Wednesday
To the new chiropractor-come-sports injury masseur-come-witch doctor. Like a punter at the roulette table, I know the odds are stacked against me and this time I’m not expecting free food and provocative staff in low-cut tops. It’s me who is making a tit of myself.
But that’s the thing with long term pain conditions. You’ll try anything, no matter how seemingly obscure, for the faint hope of some relief from the constant, wearing, nagging discomfort that follows you like a sadistic spectre, from morning ‘till night.
I approach the door with trepidation and a dull throbbing in my coccyx. As I walk in I’m greeted with the cool waft of air conditioning that actually works, unlike our ageing office unit that still pisses on your head, like some angry dominatrix, as soon as you heat up.
‘Hello.’ Chimes a soothing female voice and I spot a pretty twenty-something woman behind the fake timber-veneer counter. She’s slim and attractive so I know I’m not back with the NHS physiotherapist. She seemed to spend more time consuming pies than massaging thighs, when I was referred. I know the ailing health service is under pressure but a handout I could have printed from the internet and the offer of a daytime pilates class with a bunch of pongy pensioners, was never going to hit the spot.
‘How may I help you today?’ Continues the woman, standing to reveal a perfectly starched white top, of a semi official nature. The NHS biffer wore a creased nylon billowy blouse that might easily have doubled as a cheap parasol on a sunny day. I’m obviously paying through the nose for all this pleasantness, but at least she’s started well, with a open question. I give her my name - something I don’t do lightly - and appointment time.
‘So, if you could just fill out our questionnaire on your health background and doctor’s details while you wait, it would help enormously.’ Soothes the woman. Not bad, apart from the annoying habit of people under the age of thirty beginning every sentence with the word so, it’s a good start.
Half way through the form, with the scent of something resembling those joss sticks people burnt in the sixties, in my nostrils, I get to the occupation question.
‘How is my occupation relevant?’ I ask. I instantly regret it. The woman seems to quite like me. I know it’s sales too, just with more soothing music and less body odour - but as soon as she hears I’m an estate agent I’m expecting the atmosphere to become frostier than a butcher’s meat locker.
‘It helps us to understand any stress you might be under, whether you job is sedentary, and physical strains or posture issues.’ Reels of the receptionist smoothly. I’m pretty confident I tick all those boxes. So I do. Then pass her back the form, looking at my shoe laces. She scans it and I’m fairly sure I hear a sharp intake of breath, either that of their air conditioning is about to dump on me too.
‘So you’re an estate agent.’ She finally says, after an interminable silence, punctured only by the quasi red indian chanting, piping from some hidden speaker. No sign of the sperm whale, so far.
I fess up and get ready for the inevitable opprobrium, and a secret do not resuscitate style addendum being added to my notes, to forewarn the back doctor. I’m surprised.
‘I adore property.’ Gushes the woman, face coming alive. ‘I would really love to do your job.’ She continues animatedly. You wouldn’t.
‘I can’t think of anything more exciting than looking at people’s property all day long.’
‘It can be rewarding.’ I tell her neutrally. Best not to dash her hopes too much, not before her colleague gets their hands on me when I’m semi-naked and vulnerable.
Just then her phone chimes and a disembodied male voice asks her to send me in. Saved by the bell.
‘Do you need many qualifications?’ Asks the receptionist earnestly, as I hobble towards the appointed door..
No. Just open an office and get hands on.
Then the pain starts.