26 February 2009

Yesterday's clinic

There was nothing particularly odd about yesterday afternoon's clinic. The usual mix of patients. The usual patients inexplicably sent to the wrong clinic by Choose and Book. Nothing odd. Except one thing. A whole series of patients in a row thanked Dr Grumble. Not just a polite thank you but something much more. One went on about how all her friends who came to visit her in the Grumble hospital thought she was going to die and how well the Grumble hospital had done. Another told Dr Grumble that he was the only one after many years to have diagnosed his rare condition. And then he went on to praise many others in the NHS who had cared for his family over the years. He told the story of how when his father was dying the food was not just dumped in front of him but a nurse came to help him eat it. Perhaps this was some time ago. Dr Grumble didn't ask. There wasn't time. Then a patient brought Dr Grumble a bottle of champagne. Dr Grumble had only seen her three times. She was not a patient who knew Dr Grumble well. But she had been made better and that was her way to say thank you. Dr Grumble was glad to have the champagne. He will drink the champagne this weekend to celebrate the birthday of one of the Grumble children. But most of all Dr Grumble likes to be thanked and he likes it when he can take real pride in the organisation that he works for: the NHS.

All this adulation in just one clinic was just a little odd. It's not completely out of the ordinary but Dr Grumble does not usually get quite so much praise all in one afternoon. It buoyed Dr Grumble up for his long drive home. And then he heard the news that Ivan Cameron had died. And then it all made sense.

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