What Goes Around...

By: Carol Marinelli



‘Mrs Jameson?’

I put down my magazine and stand when my name is called.

‘Lucy.’ I smile to Dr Patel.

My usual GP is on maternity leave, I learned when I made the appointment, but they were able to slot me in with Dr Patel.

I’ll only be here two minutes.

We make small talk as I take a seat and no, she isn’t new, Dr Patel tells me, in fact she’s been here close to a year.

‘I’m not here much,’ I admit. ‘I’m healthy really…’

Apart from these headaches.

But luckily, after I’ve described my headaches and she’s tested my eyes and done my blood pressure and things, Dr Patel doesn’t think that I have one.

A brain tumour, I mean.

‘Your blood pressure is a bit high though,’ she tells me.

‘Probably because I’m here.’

I ask for some stronger headache tablets but she doesn’t leave things at that, instead she asks if I exercise as she takes me over to the scales and weighs me.

‘I’m at the gym every other day.’

I do yoga!

‘You certainly don’t need to lose weight, Lucy.’ Dr Patel nods, and then, when we’re back sitting down, she asks about my lifestyle but there’s nothing lurking there.

‘We eat really well.’ I tell her and we do. I’m really careful about our diet and no, I don’t smoke or drink.

Well, hardly.

‘I have the odd glass of wine.’

She nods.

‘And I like a brandy now and then.’

She nods again.

Dr Patel, I am starting to realise, does that a lot.

And no, we’re not under any financial pressure – she just has to look at my address!

I don’t like all these questions.

Everything’s perfect I tell her. I just want some stronger headache tablets and I’ll get my eyes properly tested as she suggested, but Dr Patel is still just sitting there. She asks about my relationship and that’s perfect too I tell her, except…

My mind darts to Beth who works in reception and I wonder if she reads the patient notes. She’s a mum from school and I don’t want anyone knowing about this, I mean, I don’t want anyone knowing that we’re having problems…

Or rather, we’re not having problems.

He is.

With that.

I don’t want to tell Dr Patel, I certainly never intended to.

Except, I do.

Of course, a moment later I regret it. I have to sit there as Doctor Patel tells me everything I already know - that there are lots of treatments available, that just because one thing doesn’t work, something else might.

I can Google too!

‘Well, given that he won’t even talk to me about it, there’s no way I can get him to come and see you.’

We just sit in silence for a moment. I shouldn’t have said anything. I know that there’s nothing she can do if he won’t even come in and, even if he does – well, I’m finding it hard enough to talk to Dr Patel – I can’t imagine him!

‘I’m trying to be understanding.’ I am! Though I don’t tell her that I’m not doing a very good job of it. My face starts burning as I think of the last time we tried and patience isn’t a virtue that springs to mind!

God, Lucy!

I close my eyes as I recall it and, to be honest, I couldn’t have handled it more badly if I’d tried.

Not it.

I mean, the situation.

‘I know he’s older than me, I know that it happens….’

I just never thought that it would be happening to me.

That I’d be sitting in a doctors office on a Saturday afternoon discussing my husbands floppy willy. ‘It’s just hard sometimes…’ I say, and then I smile at her. ‘Well actually, it’s not.’ But she doesn’t get my little joke I think, because she doesn’t smile back – there are no double entendres with Doctor Patel. She just looks at me with her solemn brown eyes and waits for my smile to fade.

Then we chat for a little while longer.

Well, she does.

She gives me all these pamphlets, one about his problem, one for partners dealing with his problem and then she suggests that perhaps I could try talking to him again, let him know that it’s concerning me…

‘Or, I could just leave these by the bedside!’ I smile, but again it isn’t returned.

I don’t think she gets me.

Well, I know that she doesn’t when she reminds me that the surgery offers counselling and couples counselling. Oh, and I’m to make an appointment with the practice nurse to get some blood work done and my blood pressure checked. I get a few more pamphlets to read – there are pamphlets for everything it would seem.