It was a big day for me yesterday. For the last four years I have been waiting for someone with a medical degree to give the go-ahead for some treatment for my old-lady ankle (curse you, arthritis). Yesterday was my pre-op, the last appointment before the big day in a couple of weeks.
I got there early, thinking that I could go and see those lovely ladies in the League of Friends Café and have one of their legendary Chelsea buns with a cup of tea. Well they didn't open till 10.00, so it was into the hospital canteen for something which was called coffee, but tasted more like dishwater, and a cinnamon swirl which needed some defibrillation, it had so little life in it. Suitably disappointed, I headed down to the reception area to check in.
I was one of seven people in the waiting room. Seeing a fairly respectable looking lady, I sat down next to her, and waited. We had a vicious knitter opposite and a very miserable looking couple who obviously had far more important things they could be doing. The last pair were indescribable, but I will try. It was clear that soap was not their friend, as a very particular aroma clung to their clothes, intensifying every time they moved. I say 'clothes', but the trousers looked like they were made of several dishcloths tied together, and the Oxford University sweatshirt that the woman's son/lover/friend was wearing was obviously stolen.
One by one, we headed off in different directions to see various nurses and doctors. Blood tests, ECG, questions and explanations done, I was one consultant away from leaving the hospital. Sitting back down next to my respectable lady, I settled down with the paper. She was making the most revolting snorting noise, and I glanced across at her to make sure that I didn't need to do the Heimlich Manoeuvre on her. She had a rather cheap wig on, and I wondered if she was in the middle of some awful treatment. She carried on snorting, and I tried to zone out, preferring to concentrate on the rich but limited vocabulary of Mr and Mrs Stinky opposite who were keen to tell everyone around them how they'd managed to get out of ever working. I thought the vicious knitter might have gone for them with her number 7's, but she showed restraint, the only indication of her anger was the steam rising off the needles as she picked up speed (that jumper will be finished by Friday).
Over the next four hours (yes....FOUR HOURS), the waiting room emptied, leaving just me and Mrs Respectable.
The Registrar turned up - which one of us would be next? Looking around the now almost empty waiting room, he looked at his notes and frowned. Looking at both of us, he raised his eyebrows, and in a questioning voice said...
'Yes, that's me', says Mrs/Mr Respectable.
Well, at least it explained the wig...