Mr B and I sit down at the dining room table to write The List. As lists go, this is an important one.
Tomorrow afternoon, we have a doctor's appointment. I will not go
into all the details of how many times and how long I spent on the telephone in what's called the "cold queue" waiting to speak to a Real Person, nor the number of mixed messages I received from the various Real People I eventually spoke to. I warn Mr B that
starting off our consultation with the doctor with a complaint is possibly Not The Way To Go. He opens his mouth, about to argue the toss with me, then closes it again when it becomes clear that I am pressing on regardless. I think he is probably storing up
his protest for a later sally.
I am working on the principle that we will have only ten minutes at best with the doctor. We do not have time, I tell Mr B, to waffle on as is our wont. Mr B opens his mouth
again; he is about to waffle, I can tell. Then he shuts it again. He has either decided to listen to my Cunning Plan or he has forgotten what he was going to say. I, for my part, need to press on before I forget what I was going to say. A Cunning Plan requires
clarity, passion, determination and an inarguable rationale.
As I say, if we have a maximum of ten minutes with the doctor then our explanation of why we are there, sitting in the surgery, asking for help,
advice and a constructive way forward, must take up no more than, say, five minutes. Possibly four, but it will be important not to gabble. Gabbling is almost as bad as waffling and we are experts at both. Mr B says I am much better at gabbling than he is.
Or should that be worse? Guilty as charged, M'Lud.
It's easy, isn't it, to convince oneself that you are sufficiently articulate not to require a script, a rehearsal, or a plan (cunning or otherwise). But
sitting in a doctor's surgery is rather like a job interview and requires just as much research and preparation. No, I won't go as far as to put together a PowerPoint presentation - though it would be interesting, don't you think, to see the doctor's reaction
if I did?
We are quite pleased with The List once we have finished it. I will read it out loud, knowing that it covers everything we want to say. In four and a half minutes. Yes, I've timed it. Our GP won't
know what has hit her. Though in a sweetly reasonable way, of course.
Of late, as poor Mr B finds the everyday increasingly difficult, he has come to rely on me more and more. And just lately I have caught
myself huffing and puffing a bit when faced with another request, sighing loudly, raising an eye-brow (or two), making it abundantly clear that I am actually rather busy with other matters. It's not fair. It's not loving. This huffing, puffing person isn't
who I want to be.
So I have come up with a brand new mantra: "Do It With Joy." Do try it if you will, it works a treat - instead of a sigh, a huff, a puff, I do it with joy. Whatever it is. Whenever it is.
You have no idea what a difference it makes.
I tell Mr B about it. He says he has noticed the huffing and puffing but is happy to accept my humble apology. There's only one thing he needs to know, he says,
with a wicked twinkle in his eye: