My third interesting phone call on 17 January was from the practice nurse. It was a very interesting conversation that dipped into the depths of the screwed up psychology of our tragic culture.
The phone rang and I answered it. I was playing Go at the time and my brain was not capable of making decisions outside of the game. It was the nurse from the doctor's practice and she wanted to speak with my daughter. I said she was not available exactly now but would be in a few minutes. The nurse said she would call back. I got to finish my game (and won). I knew what the call was about because the doctor said that my daughter's vaccinations didn't seem up to date and a nurse would call to make an appointment to discuss what was required. The doctor, a nice guy, made it clear to my daughter that they could offer the vaccinations and it was entirely her decision as to what she wanted to do about them. I spoke with said daughter and she didn't want to talk to the nurse because (it's a long history but she can't cope with oppressive, controlling, officious, authoritarian control freaks) she was nervous on the phone. I said I would deal with it.
The phone rang and I said that unfortunately daughter was not available after all. The nurse pointed out that she really needed to talk to her and suggested making an appointment for her to go into the surgery. I thought this was a good idea and said so. She tried to ascertain a good time and when I said any time she moved on to asking me why daughter had not had all her vaccinations? I asked which vaccinations she had not had. She told me that she needed them all. I asked her what she meant by all and asked which one's she had had. She said that she couldn't tell me because their records were not complete. So I asked her what she meant by that. She pointed out that she had only had x and y according to the records. I then asked her again which vaccinations she was suggesting and she started by saying that according to the Health Protection Agency she was required to have MMR which was necessary and I interrupted saying "Excuse me. We all know that is not necessary but do carry on." At this point she started quoting stuff and telling me that she was a qualified nurse and that my daughter's health was her primary concern etcetera. I listened and that was fine and when she had finished I suggested we could start with the list of vaccinations that she was suggesting were required given what are on the (incomplete) record. She told me that she couldn't carry on with this phone call because she couldn't deal with people like me. I asked her what she meant by "people like me" and she started angrily explaining that she was the practice nurse and fully qualified and that the doctor had told her to give said daughter her vaccinations and she was going to terminate the call. I said it seemed as if she was upset and she "agreed" (?) that I had upset her. I pointed out that I had not intended to upset her and I had only asked reasonable questions but I understood if she felt she could not deal with this phone call at this time. I went on to suggest that I contact the surgery at another time to deal with the issue of vaccinations.
That felt positively satisfactory to me. The lady was clearly distressed. Her intention was to lure the young girl into the surgery under the pretext of "discussing" vaccinations while in fact holding three bulging hypodermic needles behind her back and ready to pounce on her victim. She did not get an easy ride and in fact her subconscious motives were in danger of being revealed by the rational questions so she felt threatened. She was clearly perturbed, obviously angry, evidently distressed and simply couldn't cope. She will have nightmares about it and I am delighted.
What a funny convoluted world we live in.
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