Monday, April 24, 2006

(photo: Magnet Chick at flickr)

It’s just not fair I say, just not fair…

For months and months I have been waking up with quite uncomfortably itchy skin. It’s a bit of a nuisance but I’ve been able to live with it but R thought it was time for me to go to the Doctor's about it. So, ok, I’ll go.

I was looking forward to it. It was my first opportunity in years to say ‘no’ when a doctor asks me if I smoke. He was bound to ask as this was my first visit to the practice since moving into R’s flat at the beginning of the year.

(That’s not strictly true. I had to go and see the practice nurse, Sister C, a few months back. Her office was stuffed to the rafters with condoms, they were falling off the shelves, hanging from the ceiling, little motorised packets were whizzing in and out about my feet - the office was just a massive packet of rubbers. I cleared a few crates of Featherlites off a stool, sat down, and she leaned forward on her stool with her hands on her knees and a broad “nothing to be embarrassed about” smile on her face. “And how can I help you Erik?” I told her I wanted my ears waxed.)

After a brief wait I’m in the doctor’s room and he seems nice, about twelve years old, with long hair and well-kept fingernails. I explain the itching as intelligently as I can eager for him to ask me the smoking question but no joy there he’s too busy asking me what I think is the cause of the itching. He asks me to take my shirt off. The only skin blemishes in sight are the very distinct red square marks left by my nicotine patches as well as the fresh patch I’m wearing. Still he doesn’t comment…I know the patch is translucent but surely he can see it? And the big mosaic of square blemishes all over my upper arms? I jiggle my shoulder in the hope the patch will catch a bit of daylight and attract his gaze then, suddenly, I thrust my finger up to it and blurt out “I’m giving up smoking”.

“Good… good… excellent” he says and then asks me if I’m sure I don’t know what the cause of the itching is because he hasn’t got a clue.

I feel sad that I had to introduce the smoking subject without him asking me first.

“You think its eczema don’t you?” he says and tells me I better get tested for it "don't you think?".

He asks me how much I drink. I say all the things you’re supposed to say, truthfully as it happens, about units consumed, abstinence days per week… never more than four pints in one day. He looks at me as if I told him I’m on 9 litres of Diamond White a day.

And then he asks…”How many cigarettes are you smoking a day?”


I don’t have time to question his IQ as I reflexively shout “None. I don’t smoke. I gave up fifteen and a half days ago”.

“Oh I see…very good…well done”.

At. Sodding. Last.

And as a reward he tells me not to drink alcohol for SEVEN DAYS before the blood test. Is he mad? Is he human? I can’t drink even more coffee.

It’s not fair. It’s just not fair.

Quitometer ---2w 1d 11:52 smoke-free, 392 cigs not smoked, £45.47 saved, 1d 08:40 life saved and no sodding booze neither.

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