No, I’m not dead, nor on holiday, nor did the infrastructure of the known world collapse, taking the internets down with it. I was just… sulking.

Shark week, it has been, and a good brutal one too. It’s day seven now, and I’m still bleeding like a stuck pig, which you’ll agree is not optimal. Cute Ute the Despoiler has decided she rather likes the trick of easing up on the bleeding, waiting until I am lulled into a false sense of security also mere ‘super’ tampons (as opposed to double-plus super extra ultra tampons, which can double as marital aids, frankly), and then yanking out the bathplug and laughing hysterically (ho ho ho) as I leap to my feet with a tiny shriek and flee to the bathroom, blood running briskly down my leg. I am very tired.

On Sunday night, a week ago now, as full of cramps and anxst as can be, I decided to check my medication supply to see if I needed to renew any prescriptions any time soon. There was no urgency. There was a whole box of diclofenac suppositories right there, see? I don’t remember leaving a half-empty box back on the shelf, so it must be a full box… you see where this is headed, right? Because you don’t have the IQ of a house-plant, unlike me. So on Monday morning, in quite heady amounts of pain and starting to spot, I took my slightly-out-of-date repeat prescription form to the GP, to see if they’d renew it urgently, as, obviously, to my mind at least, anyone on this kind of painkiller really rather means it when they say they need it urgently, nu?

I am, personally, absolutely freaked out and humiliated by what happened next.

The receptionist was adamant that they did not renew prescriptions the same day, it would take 48 hours. That there new policy was that GPs were not to be disturbed for anything short of an emergency. That renewing a prescription was NOT an emergency. That they couldn’t renew it anyway, as it was out of date. That I’d need to make an appointment to see a GP. That there were no GP appointments left for that day. That coming in that evening for the emergency appointments first-come-first-served slots was not an option because they were for emergencies, which this was not. At this point, in tears, I asked if it would be considered an emergency if I threw up or fainted while waiting, and the receptionist told me that wasn’t very nice. She actually thought I meant it as some kind of passive-aggressive twatweaselry. I actually meant the question seriously, because I was in pain and freaking out and what the hell else was I supposed to do?

I was crying too hard to speak at this point, and I was in a waiting room full of people, and so I fled home again. H, thank fuck, was still at home himself, and promptly grabbed his coat in one hand, me in the other, and dragged both back to the surgery, where he, very calmly but sternly explained to the receptionist that this was not about some idiot trying to game the system, this was about a person in serious pain, and that he’d seen how the pain affected me, and that I did, actually, need this drug with some urgency, thank you, and after a few minutes bluster she caved completely and arranged for my prescription to be renewed and waiting for me by lunch-time. So in the end all was well.

And I cried all morning, because I had been so very scared I’d have to do Shark Week with inadequate pain-relief, and because the whole thing was so humiliating. I’m thirty-seven. I’m a nice respectable middle-class over-educated lady with a cut-glass accent. I can, if necessary, out-posh the Queen. How was I reduced to weeping hysteria in a GP waiting-room, being treated like a moronic teenager having a tantrum by a GP’s receptionist?

I don’t think I can do this for very much longer – menstruate, that is. It’s giving me shell-shock. Every cycle, also, is doing more damage to my uterus. When I lie on my back and rest my hand on my belly, now, I can feel it even through my ample padding, a great heavy bruised fist buried in my guts, an obscene parody of early pregnancy.


20 responses to “Trauma

  • Melissia

    I am so sorry that that uncaring woman left you feeling that way. You are entitled to pain relief that is not only adequate but that completely controls your pain. I hope shark week is over for you soon.

  • a

    Who wouldn’t cry, with that kind of scenario before them? It gives me the chills just thinking about it.

    I’m sorry that the Despoiler continues to torture you. I wish it would take a break from the torture and just be mellow for…say…15-20 years? That ought to do it.

  • Mina

    Oh, my sweet lady, who wouldn’t have cried in your place?! It is particularly ironic to have carers cause more hurt just because they are following procedure without looking at the poor human being suffering in front of them. And I use ironic in the sense of fucked up.
    Hope you get some relief soon. And Ute, straighten your ways, would you? You are not funny, and no one is amused by your antics.

  • jjiraffe

    I am so sorry that receptionist was such a jackass. I would have cried too!

    Hoping Ute eases up on you.

  • Anonymous

    Fuck’s sake that is horrendous.

  • Jen

    Oh, May, what a horrible experience. Why oh why are NHS GP receptionists (almost) always so aggressive and ‘computer-says-no’ about everything? My favourite is when they try and diagnose you in reception to decide if you deserve one of their precious same day appointments. Hope that the sharks leave very soon.

  • Betty M

    That receptionist needs a good talking to about how to deal with people. I don’t know where they get off on behaving like this. It seems to be a job requirement for a certain sort of receptionist whether private or NHS it’s all rigid procedure and protecting the precious snowflake of the doctor from any possible minor stress like a patient. Grr.

    Women’s hour had a piece about the Mirena and heavy periods this am which might be of interest – I didn’t get the whole thing as I was grappling with my tax return and it was making my brain hurt. Might be a temp solution?

  • Lilian

    I definitely would have cried, too. *hugs* Wretched GP receptionists.

  • Valery Valentina

    Mhmm, it might be an idea for the next Olympic Bond film: you out-poshing the Queen…

    (and every time I read about your Shark Week I feel like I fail to come up with the right solution. Like I should have done something. Instead of not even trying to help you.)

    Any news on the 4th opinion? Do you have a date?


  • Hairy Farmer Family

    Medical receptionists are rapidly becoming a national blight. I think the job must call to that section of society who should never, ever be given power. How DARE they do that to you? I am hearing many tales of people refused proper care because a non-medico has decided Not Today, Thankyou, and am having a bit of a Hulk Mad about it. ‘A few minutes bluster…?!? Her head should roll! Complain! Please complain! RAHHHH!

    Poor May. This is just Not On. None of it, not one single bit.

  • thalia

    just rotten that those who run the system can end up behaving stupidly because a bunch of semi-well thought through rules come together in a thoroughly painful way.

    Particularly sorry that you just go on and on having to deal with this. I wish there was some constructive way forward that I could magically produce for you (although actually that would be rather patronising of me and probably very annoying for you). Really not IVF? Really?

  • Solnushka

    Thank god for H. Go H! And you have nothing to feel bad about because, well, the horror is very real. Unfortunately. *hug* for surviving. Bah! To the receptionist.

  • caliope

    What a witch of a secretary. And what an indictment of the health service. It’s awful what you’ve had to live with, and you do it with so much humour (at least in your writing, which is excellent)

  • Chickenpig

    I’ve been there. The worst is the pregnancy mockery from the uterus. I hope that option #4 gives you some much needed hope and direction.

  • Jenny F. Scientist, PhD

    Oh, dear. And… oh dear some more.

  • bionicbrooklynite

    God DAMN it! I am so righteously ENRAGED n your behalf. What a terrible, petty-tyrannical, condescending shit bag of a person that receptionist is! And if she isn’t, then shed better change her ways, pronto, Scrooge-style, because lord knows a person could be confused into thinking she was an actual demon, taking filthy, bureaucratic pleasure in the torment of others like that. How I wish I could march/swim right over there and…MAKE HER LIVE WITH DR. RUSSIAN, THAT’S WHAT.

    God, I wish I could do something to make at least one damn little bit of this better. I am so glad you have an H.

  • manapan

    I’d have cried too and I hope she felt terrible about it, because she damn well should have. I’m so glad you were able to get your prescription refilled in time. Hugs.

  • korechronicles

    I’m willing to bet that said receptionist has annual professional development days and that the surgery’s mission/values/rhetorical rhubarb statement commits everyone to ‘outstanding customer service’. Which inevitably flies out the window whenever a situation that actually, you know, requires outstanding customer service comes along. Sorry that the you are tortured by borked internal workings that result in experiencing the rhetoric/reality gap first hand. More than once.

    And a specially minted (by me) Oz Day Medal for H. Such a keeper, that man.

  • Twangy

    Oh no! How did I miss this? Damn delirium. I am so sorry, May. What an awful way to be treated, when you were so vulnerable. Bloody, bloody, jobsworth receptionist. I’d like to print out this post and feed it to her.
    Grrrrrr! Unbe-fecking-lievable!

  • wombattwo

    Let me at her, armed with my greyhound’s bum after she’s just been wormed. That’ll teach her!
    And making you cry too. That’s just NOT ON!
    Also NOT ON is your uterus, and the fact that you can actually feel the swollen, bloody thing, Oh May it’s just so not fair. Not fair at all.

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