I first noticed at Short Tony’s 40th birthday party.
Normally, I sing like 10,000 angels descending on gossamer wings from a golden heaven crossed with Barry Gibb. But I could not even hit the high notes in ‘You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling’. I drank my way through this, and stuck to the Tom Jones. But it preyed on my mind; my throat has not been the same since and my health deteriorated rapidly and spectacularly at the weekend.
I make an appointment.
“Hello Jonny!!!” cry the fit receptionists, clustering round me as they do whenever I visit the surgery.
“Where’s your little Baby today?” one asks.
“Left her behind today. Ill. Me ill. Me. No baby.”
Eyes narrow and lips purse; the receptionists disappear in the twinkling of an eye.
“You’ve got tonsillitis,” announces the Doctor, pulling away hastily from my mouth. “It’s pretty grim,” he adds helpfully.
Tonsillitis!!! It is a proper itis!!! I do not know whether to be pleased that I am officially properly ill, or worried about the fact that I have got one of the major itises. This tonsillitis is bad enough – God knows what it will be like if it progresses to hepatitis or tuberculitis. It is a fucking good job that I live in the developed world, is all I can say.
I lean forwards to give my shadow of a voice the best chance. “I am not really up on medicine,” I confess. “But seeing as we are all going to die anyway from super microbe bugs that have built up resistance to antibiotics due to prolonged and largely inappropriate prescribing in the past, can I have some antibiotics please?”
He scribbles out a prescription.
“I don’t know if it’s connected,” I continue. “But I have also had flu, and conjunctivitis?” Even as I speak I realise that I have had an itis all along!!! But just a local minor one that is unlikely to cause death or becoming a cabbage. I do not mention my sore toe as I do not wish to overburden the NHS with my problems.
“Not connected,” he confirms, before leaning back in his chair and eyeing me up and down. “Look. Far more likely – you’ve been running around for months after the LTLP and the Baby, looking after them all hours, and you’ve just run yourself down. You’ve been overdoing it.”
This had not occurred to me.
“Could you put that in writing please?” I ask hopefully.
“No, fuck off,” replies the Doctor. “I don’t mind telling you that between ourselves, but I’m buggered if I’m getting involved in your domestic life.”
I am disappointed with his unhelpfulness and once more consider reporting him to the GMC via anonymous letters cut from the pages of the ‘Lancet’ and ‘People’s Friend’. But he has given me pills, for which I am grateful. I drive home tenderly, to swallow these and some painkillers.