The Hyperchondriac


He sat nervously waiting. His skin itched. His breath smelt strange in his throat. His scalp crawled. Why him? Why now? Just when life was so ratshit. This was all he needed.

The waiting room was cold. Cold and clinical. The fan whirred overhead making an unnecessary draft. He'd catch his death in this bloody place. He scratched absently and noticed blood on his hands. He wiped it off on his jeans and tried to get it out from under his fingernails.

"Mr Best, you can go in now." "At last," he muttered. He dragged himself up from the chair and shuffled into the doctor’s office. She was there, all sharp edges and steel hair.

A picture of a sunny Greek island decorated the wall. Goats grazed in front of a windmill. The sea stretched out to the horizon in azure fantasy.

"Well, how are you today Ted?", writing something on the thick sheaf of cards. He saw his name at the top. Beside his name was a stick on blue star.

"Ok…not so good. My tickers playing up again I reckon. I’ve had these pains in me.." and he moved his hand weakly to his chest.

She looked doubtful, "Well we’ll check you blood pressure again if you like. It was normal last week though." "As usual," she thought as she fitted the cuff around his waiting arm.

"Normal for a man your age." She removed the cuff and returned to her side of the desk. "How's work?"

"Well, you know. It could be better. I don't know if I'll have a job after the end of December and you know what it's like looking for work at that time of year. Everyone's on holidays."

He realised that she probably didn't know what it was like to be out of work. Cushy doctor life, making a packet, never out of work. Lucky bitch.

She glanced up at the wreck of a man opposite her, "That's too bad. I think this rash is probably stress related. Can you take some time off?"

"Mate, that would be like cutting me own throat. I may as well go in there and say "Fu..shove your job, I don't want it".

She looked at him uncertainly, "Mmm. I see your point, but you know they can't do that these days. There are people you can go to if they try to hold it against you. Unions, the ombudsman…that kind of thing."

"Yeah, but...I don't know. Listen..."

"Now about the rash, I've got a new cream for you. Here you are. Just rub this cream on and keep on taking the tablets. It should go away. If it doesn't, make an appointment for next week.

He knew by her tone that it was over. Still no further ahead. Bloody woman wouldn’t believe him. Something was seriously wrong sure as anything. He pushed himself out of the chair and started to leave.

"And Ted?"

He looked back over his shoulder hopefully, "Yes?"

"Try not to worry so much."

The doctor sighed. Another overstressed person. Another sad soul. What was the point of all this when we’re all dying? Where are we all going in such a rush? She thought about the cancer eating her away from the inside and sighed again. Her finger touched the intercom. "Next please."


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