Saturday, September 16, 2006
Mum has asked me to accompany her to the doctors, to find out the news on her facial tic, and so I drive us both there, on Saturday morning. As usual, Mum tells me every move to make driving the car. “Get into this lane, turn left here, now turn right” and although I know in my head that she means well, it is annoying. I actually do know, believe it or not, even as the youngest, I actually do know! I KNOW! :)
We park outside, and walk under a giant Leopard tree, shedding its many hard seed pods, which threaten to twist my ankle as I wander beneath it. Power to the tree!
Inside the doctor’s surgery, I sit, and look. The reception room is a time machine, circa:1968, the very height of good fashion! I smirk to myself and almost expect the Tardis and Dr Who to emerge from the hallway!
Low set coffee table in the middle, built-in orange leathered bench seating on the outer area, 2 big roomy chairs in which to sit, thin, oval shaped light fittings, and a smattering of photographs and etchings to show off the doctors travels and good taste. Two etchings are an aboriginal depiction of echidnas (not such a popular art subject I wouldn’t think?) and kangaroo (Yawns, waaaay too popular). There’s a waterfall, could be in Zimbabwe, and the whole room smells faintly of doctors stuff and rising damp.
I think about how many times my father would have sat here, waiting, thinking, dreaming. He must have been here a lot!
There is only one other person in the room, an old bloke; and he sits across the room from me, speaking loudly to the receptionist.
“These young people are building on the creek banks, low set houses, on slabs, they will be sorry when it rains” he thunders. “We get 5 inches here in an hour, or at least we used to!” he claims. The receptionist nods in agreement, “Yes, and the cyclones, every year we would have a cyclone” and I am young enough to remember this too, and I also nod in agreement.
“The water rises like this!” he shouts, and holds his arms up to a 2-foot level. “They have no idea!”
I sit quietly, eyeing off the laden table of magazines, too interested in the décor of the room, and the continuing conversation to read. Normally, I love to scratch through the magazine offerings, it reflects whatever the surgery is interested in. Fly-fishing. Crotchet. Car mechanics. All good.
I am still analyzing the room’s décor when the doctor calls. “Pearl”.
I haven’t heard Mum called that for such a long time, if ever, but we dutifully trundle in to hear the news.
I sit in the corner; behind the doctor, facing mum.
She looks radiant, it’s hard to believe there is anything wrong with her. Her gray hair is shining, almost looks thick, and is sitting nicely to her right side of her head. Marvellous!
She is obviously intelligent, her bright eyes alert and inquiring. She chats to her doctor, an anonymous man of middle age (55 is the new 40) and he seems disinterested. It’s not like he has a full waiting room of patients to attend to.
Not at all.
Mum asks questions. Mini-strokes. Brain atrophy. Facial tics and enough technical medical terms to keep us Googling for a week.
Mum leans forward and says, “What now, what can we do now?”
He says cheerily, “I could give you tablets, I suppose, if you like”.
If you like? What the? As if it’s our choice?
I say, “Are there any side-effects?”
“Of yes!” he replies, chirpily.
We both wait.
“What would they be?” I prod.
“Sleepiness!” he says, almost breaking out in a grin.
I am fairly unimpressed, and I can see Mum taking it all in.
Later, I speak to her, nag her, to change doctors. If you have to extract information about your condition like this, its just not worth it mate.
We leave, our head swimming with information. Later Mum says “ Thinking it over, perhaps I should give up drinking?”
“DON’T’ BE SO BLOODY STUPID!” I rouse, gobsmacked.
Saturdays in Rockhampton…..