Honestly, if I didn’t know any better I would think that the god of customer service has a personal vendetta against me and everything that I want to achieve.
Today, I made the stupid mistake of thinking that I could just simply walk into a doctor’s surgery and register. I still have my old NHS card from when I lived here, and according to the out-dated card, all that is needed is a signature to change from my old doctor to a new one. Once again, just to emphasise the fact that I thought it would be that easy.
Firstly, I got the most unexperienced and unhelpful receptionist in the history of receptionists, because that is always just my luck. She told me that I needed to go away and get my old doctor’s details and come back. I told her that I had my old doctor’s details on the card that I was holding. She appeared not to hear me and proceeded to tell me that in addition I would need to find my NHS number. This too was on the card I had in front of me. Once again she didn’t seem to be able to process the fact that I actually had what I needed with me at the time. She then informed me that the card that I was holding did not exist, because they don’t issue them anymore. After waving it in her face to prove its existence, she eventually came to the conclusion that maybe she needed to talk to her collegue about this.
Finally I got handed a stack 0f paper to fill in and she thought that her day was over because she hoped that I would fill it in at home, but there was no way I was going through that process again the next day, and I sat down right there to fill in the endless reams of paper I’d been supplied with. In fact, of the 10-odd pages, the first one was the only one of any use. On it I filled in everythign you would expect, like date of birth and old doctor’s details etc. Then it came to the next 10 pages. The first few were dedicated to me retelling my entire medical history, and the date and time of every pill I’ve ever swallowed, ever (Slight overexaggeration, but I digress.) The next few asked the medical history of I think every family member of the last 60 years or so.
The next pages were my favorite. I believe the intentions were good, as they were intended to be an early indicator of alcoholism. The thing is that they don’t take into account students, or our family, or any normal person in the entire world ever. Basically, you had to fill in a little questionnaire about the frequency that you drink alcohol and things associated with drinking alcohol, and the more often you drink the higher your score was. The questions ranged from (with the brackets being the amount of points you score.):
How often do you drink more that one unit of alcohol? Never(0)/1-2 times a week(1)/3+ times a week(2)/6+ times a week(3)
(Taking into account that according to their personal guidelines, one glass of wine counts as two units of alcohol – I’m already a drunk)
How often do you, as a woman drink more than 6 to 8 units of alcohol in one sitting? Never (0)/1-2 times a week(1)/3+ times a week(2)/6+ times a week(3)
How often do you injure yourself or others, after drinking alcohol? Never (0)/1-2 times a week(1)/3+ times a week(2)/6+ times a week(3)
How often do you wake up, not remembering the previous night’s events after drinking alcohol? Never (0)/1-2 times a week(1)/3+ times a week(2)/6+ times a week(3)
So, obviously my score was 0 … *cough cough*
And these questions went on for several pages, and if your score was over 5 at the end of all of these questions you were advised to speak to your GP about your alcohol consumption. I was laughing so much at the questions I’m sure the receptionist thought I was an alcoholic.
I still had to, after laughing at the questions, take my blood pressure in some fancy thing that you have to stick your entire arm up to the elbow in, and wait (while calmly breathing) as it crushes your arm and gives you a read out on a piece of paper the size of a paperclip that you’re not allowed to lose. It gave me an error reading twice before giving me two very different readings straight after one another, so who knows what my blood pressure really is, though it’s definitly higher after my experiences at the surgery.
The last straw was when the receptionist asked for proof of address and I almost couldn’t keep a straight face. What with the bank trying to find out why on earth I don’t have utility bills for proof address for my account, if someone else asks me for proof of address after today I might throw something at their head. Or drink, because apparently I’m a raging alcoholic. Luckily, we were saved by an angel of a receptionist who saw that I had an NHS number and waved away the other receptionist, telling me that she would put it through that afternoon.
She also made my day when, paging through my form and seeing my score on the alcohol questionnaire she looked up at me, laughed and said, “You little liar!”