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Jack Averty: What’s up doc? It’s judgement day for me

By Jack Averty | Weekend | Published:

This week I had to tick off another of life’s adult boxes by visiting the doctors.

Who’s who – the waiting room game

Long gone are the days of letting out a slight cough and your mum putting you in quarantine and calling the doctor out – this was book your own appointment and sort it all yourself out time.

It all began when my right eye started to hurt a tad (yes I forgot that opticians were a thing) and I had been feeling slightly more lethargic than normal.

Before I even considered the last resort of having to actually see someone in the flesh, I had to look online to narrow down what debilitating illness I might have.

The eye problem seemed to be a simple eye strain (turns out I’m actually going blind and need glasses) but the lethargicness became slightly problematic.

As you know whenever you search a symptom you end up with a list of quite worrying and life-changing illnesses, with cancer normally floating high towards the top of the list.

Convinced I was on the path to an early grave I was left with two choices – either accept death or take the hit and visit my GP.

After ringing up the doctor’s surgery and getting an appointment for three weeks later than I had planned (NHS crisis? What crisis?) I was all set.

When you’re a kid vomiting all over the floor of the doctor’s surgery because you’ve eaten a whole bag of sweets despite already being ill, you unfortunately don’t realise the intricacies of a visit to the GP.

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The first is the waiting room judgement stare. The receptionists have seen it all a million times, but my God are the other patients nosey buggers.

As soon as they hear those sliding doors open, their heads bolt up and they begin to assess what could possibly be wrong with you. Ironically they examine you closer than the actual doctors do. You’re in no position to judge back, you just need to keep your head down and get seated asap.

You find yourself muttering how disgusting these people are for judging, until the automatic doors go again and your head up is quicker than everyone else’s. It’s at this point you take the opportunity to do your sweep round the room and discover the who’s who of the doctor’s waiting room.

There’s always someone on crutches, a baby screaming almost as loud as their mother is at the receptionist and of course the stereotypical bloke who has turned yellow from years of drinking 15 pints a night.

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There’s no time to decipher the mystery illnesses on those whose deficiencies are not immediately forthcoming as, before you know it, you’re out of the waiting room and face-to-face with the doctor who, in your mind at least, is about to decide whether you can be cured or not.

First off you begin by telling them what’s wrong with you, how you’ve got it and what you think the cure might be.

The amount of times they will have heard that over the years it’s no wonder they don’t just agree and send you on your way. What’s the point of going to the doctor’s if you know it all yourself anyway?

But as professional as ever they ask to take a look anyway just in case, by some miracle, you, with no medical experience whatsoever, have got it wrong.

Within seconds your top is off and they’re examining your mole like its a new planet with its own gravitational pull.

This is where you need to take a step back and consider how seriously weird all of this is. You’ve known this person all of 90 seconds, for all intents and purposes they may as well be just a stranger off the street.

But here you are trusting them unequivocally with half your body out telling them how you struggle to wee past 9pm. When someone you don’t know dares say hello to you you can barely muster a smile, let alone whip your belly out.

But it’s a whole different ball game when it comes to the doctors. You overshare to such an extent that within five minutes your GP knows more about you than your whole family and partner combined.

Ten minutes and another set of glaring eyes later you’re back out the sliding doors, cured of your chronic bout of hypochondria.

Jack Averty

By Jack Averty
Senior Reporter - @javerty_star

Reporter with the Express & Star, based at head office in Wolverhampton

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