At our GP surgery, in order to nab an appointment with a doctor, you have to phone at 8 o'clock in the morning. Obviously it isn't quite as easy as that sounds...
however, an optimist so I set the alarm for 7.30 a.m. and reassure Mr B that I am "on the case." I rise at 7.20 a.m., afraid that if I drop off to sleep again - which is rather more than a possibility - I will sleep through the alarm and wake well after my
At 7.58 precisely, according to the BBC, I set the stopwatch on the Us-Pad. At 7.59 precisely, I dial the number. At 8 a.m. on the dot, my call is answered by a disembodied voice informing
me that I am 19th in the call queue. How can that even be possible?
Mr B says I should have called at least a minute earlier but, on the occasions I have tried this cunning ploy, I have been greeted by the
out-of-hours message reminding me that the surgery opens at 8 a.m. and instructing me to call back then or visit A & E if it's an emergency. By the time I redial I am way down in the call queue.
the 18 people ahead of me manage to squeeze in before me? I can't believe they all timed their call to greater perfection than I. Did they, for example, make use of a stopwatch? Life is so unfair, sometimes.
push such unworthy and destructive thoughts from my head. I need to keep a calm and rational head on my shoulders if I am to secure an appointment for poor Mr B. Nineteenth in the queue could be worse, I tell myself as cheerfully as I am able. I could be twentieth.
Or more. The disembodied voice thanks me for waiting and tells me I am now eighteenth in the queue. Fantastic, I tell myself, I have already moved up one - and I decide to put the kettle on for another cup of coffee. This involves some delicate juggling, lodging
the phone between my shoulder and chin so as to leave me hands-free for (i) the turning on of the tap; (ii) the filling of the kettle with water; and (iii) the plugging in of said kettle. By the time I have managed all this, multi-tasker that I am, I am fifteenth
in the queue.
I return to the armchair, cuppa in hand (putting coffee, milk and hot water into the cup was yet another challenge but I am sure you have the idea by now) and I am now twelfth in the queue. This
is progress. Of sorts. Mr B asks if I am still on the phone. I wave it at him, by way of answer, and almost miss the exciting news that I am now eighth in line. I wonder whether numbers nine, ten and eleven gave up in disgust? Not me, I am made of stronger
stuff, especially now that I have been fortified by a Caffeine Intake.
I check my emails and delete all the ones asking me if I want to sign on for courses enabling me to take up a new career as a
plumber, reclaim PPI or order more building materials from Screwfix. I am now fifth in the call queue. Life doesn't get more thrilling than this. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters has posted some lovely photos of her teenagers on Facebook, fresh from yet
another musical theatre triumph. Apparently they both played the parts of zombies. I am beginning to feel like a zombie myself. I post a quick comment just at the very moment when I find myself at the head of the queue. I quickly rehearse in my head what I
want to say.
But, hark, yet another disembodied voice tells me I need to select an option from several on offer. I do as I am told, being generally an Obedient Soul as well as having come too far to turn back
now. The Voice tells me that all the surgery's receptionists are busy on other calls; I need to hold to be put through in due course. It seems the call queue was just the queue to be put into the proper queue, the one where you actually may be able to talk
Five minutes later and, hurrah! there is a Proper Person on the end of the phone. She tells me that there are no appointments left for today....
am feeling rather weak. Could someone please call the doctor?
It might take some time...