What I do in the morning: Gather my symptom diary and my notes together and head off to the hospital for my 9:00 appointment. I expect I’ll have to wait hours as the NHS is so oversubscribed – I wonder how this would ever work in America (a decision that brought the country to its knees momentarily). I told my boss I’d be in by 10:00, anyway.
What the taxi-van I followed said on the back: Dee’s Taxis, call Seven-Five Double ‘O’ double ‘O’. I can’t help but question why we say ‘O’, the letter, instead of Zero, the number? Has our tenacious need for convenience led us to systematically take this short-cut, as it has with txt spk?
When will the Neurologist call me from the sickly, yellowed waiting room into her nice, clean, white room: Straight away, am I in England? Is this the NHS? She asks me if I’m nervous, I say that I’m amazed, and grateful; very grateful.
What the Neurologist says after she finishes the exam by scratching the soles of my feet with a sharp stick, making me recoil: There’s nothing alarming here, you’re fine. It’s probably muscular, you need to chill out; don’t keep a diary; try to forget about it; try some holistic therapies. I’m so relieved, but can it be that simple? I try to recall how bad it’s been the last few months to justify why I’m there but I convince myself it wasn’t bad at all; no dizziness, shaking, nausea, feeling like I’m passing out, and headaches; the screaming, bastard headaches that thumped on the top of my skull every day – maybe I should have just chilled out a bit.
What I have now in place of my headache: Confidence in the NHS; maybe there is hope for the US.
What I do when I repeat a phone number to a client: Say both ‘O’ and Zero while doing it: I say ‘O’ One Four Two Six, Six Zero Five, Zero… On a bad line my ‘O’s sound like Eights so I feel I need to take my time and say Zero like it should be; no short-cuts.