There are a couple of things that I would like to share with you from the world of recuperation, remember I do this so you don’t have to. The first is the experience of a DVLA medical, which was not at all what I expected. They had warned me that the medical would involve some nakedness but they hadn’t warned me that it would take place in a modern doctor’s surgery which is clearly something that I have not experienced before. The first thing that struck me was that there was nobody there, well not actually nobody but only two or three people in the waiting room. If you are lucky enough to win the telephone lotto and get an appointment at my local surgery then you will find the waiting room packed with various sickly people. Next up on the list was the ubiquitous electronic displays for calling patients, it displayed your name and your date of birth which I imagine makes for some very upset women.
Having taken my seat I was called back to the window with the request “could you please take your blood pressure and write it down” I must have looked suitably lost because they directed me to a machine. Am I crazy in assuming that the medical staff are supposed to carry out this task? What’s more this is a driving medical so should they not make some effort to secure the information? I wrote the numbers down but and was hit with an overwhelming desire to make them better, luckily I didn’t know which way was better so gave in the original numbers. Max kindly told me later that I should have knocked them all down which makes sense as I apparently have clinician syndrome which means when you measure my BP it acts up and looks high. The next stage was the nurse for blood tests, normally a very sensible arrangement. The nurse commented “when you got all those tattoos did you think about blood tests” to which the only reasonable response is “surely that many tattoos is an indication that I don’t think”. She kindly informed that it was OK it was good experience to ‘do it blind’ which went some way to not putting me at ease. Blood taken the nurse then took the odd step of squirting the blood into the test tube, normally they snap the ends off the syringe which leaves the cartridge. The problem with the squirting technique is that the blood tries to escape at every opportunity hence I left her cleaning the mouse mat, her pen and keyboard. I record this here in case there is a break in at the surgery over the weekend, it wasn’t me DNA or no DNA.
I was dispatched to the waiting room with the paperwork and my blood, again I am no security expert but this seems weak to say the least. Finally to the doctor for what was mostly a series of questions, the obvious drink and drug ones were followed by “do you have tattoos and if so how many?” I suggested that once they all join up they should count as one but this was not met with humour. After a quick inspection the doc hit on “multiple”, when we got to piercings he was very glad of that word and wrote it before I had finished telling him. I didn’t think that one had to notify the DVLA when you got a tattoo or a piercing, does it affect your driving ability? The question that I really struggled with was “has alcohol affected your relationships?” How does one answer that, is it appropriate to say that it was the cause of most of them? as I ran through a series of scary drunken memories the doctor reread the question “sorry I mean has an alcohol problem affected your relationships” oh that’s easy, no problem so answer is no. Next was T-shirt off and on the couch, obviously a standard driving position, for reflex, heart and lung checks. Interestingly the doc told me that if you have no reflexes on both sides then that is OK, go figure. Then there was belly pressing along with the question “any tummy pain” why do doctors insist on using the word ‘tummy’ I haven’ had a tummy since I was 5 it is my stomach, as a doctor surely you know that! We finished the nudity with a testicle question “any lumps” oh no I assured him, no lumps and certainly not big enough to get in the way of a steering wheel. When you’re semi-naked on a couch and a doctor asks “do you check regularly” then I challenge any man to answer anything other than “oh yes, why just this morning”.
Medical all done I was given the blood sample to take back to reception with the comment “don’t forget and it take it home”. I would have thought a more appropriate comment would have been “don’t swap that sample with a clean living friend” but hey what do I know?
For the second story I turn to the wonderful Debs my physioterrorist. Today we discovered some new and interesting issues and I have been given another set of hideous exercises to stretch long tendons that have shrunk when I wasn’t looking. It was the first time that I have seen Ben in ages and he was astounded by the scars, that is another convert to the power of the seemingly unexplainable properties of Dermatix. I remain astounded that you can sell a product at such an insane price when you can’t explain how it works but any parent of teenagers should keep it in the house for that messed up piercing. Apparently I can now be trusted with a powerball, although they were a bit of a fad they are apparently excellent for recuperation because they don’t stress the articulating surfaces in the wrist unlike my grip training. The grip training was frowned upon mostly because I don’t tend to be gentle and I do tend to lie about pain when challenged, we agreed that I would do both. Now if Debs suggests it then it is a good idea, simple as that there is no question about it.
On the way back to the station I stopped at a large outdoors type store that Debs informed me stocked the object in question. I looked up at the hanging boards telling me the sections, camping, shoes, climbing and accessories to name but a few but there wasn’t a toys or exercise section. Due to shortness of time I found a lady to ask and she told me that they had moved to somewhere else and led me there, still no sign “Pete” she called and a fella looked over “powerballs?” laughing he directed her to another fella. By the time that we had located the product there were three men laughing every time that the word powerballs was uttered and a completely clueless woman. In the end she asked why we were laughing and I offered the answer “it’s a boy thing” which almost satisfied her until I added “we get it from our mums”. Just goes to show that we never really grow up. I am now resplendent with a power ball and can see that it really will be an irritatingly addictive addition and a constant soundtrack.