Having vented my spleen over the Annual Review random medical appointment, I phoned to cancel it. Even had I felt inclined to take Grenouille, it wasn’t at a convenient time, since it clashed with another appointment (howls of ironic laughter, Bruce). I also asked the admin person what the point of the visit was supposed to be, and, as she couldn’t tell me, told her not to bother scheduling another one until I had spoken to the doctor – and only then if I agreed it was a worthwhile use of time.
The doctor phoned shortly before the would-have-been appointment was due. She sounded youngish, pleasant enough, but I could feel my defensive-posture muscles tensing again at the tone of her voice when she said, “I understand you’ve been asking about the purpose of this appointment”. My side of the dialogue promptly started to twin-track itself in my head.
“Well, yes. Given the amount of medical information that’s contained in Grenouille’s Statement paperwork, I’d have thought there was more than enough to be going on with. And, forgive me, but if there is a query about some particular aspect of Grenouille’s health, then I’ll be consulting with the appropriate specialist, not with someone unknown to whom I have received no referral.” And yes, I am being passive-aggressive.
The doctor said, “Ah. So G already sees a number of doctors.”
That was news to you, eh? Not impressed. “Yes, and….?”
“Well, we offer an annual appointment to all special needs children in our area, just in case there’s something that the parents want to bring up. It’s really for the benefit of children who don’t see a doctor regularly, not those who have regular treating clinicians.”
In other words, this is a fishing exercise for enough material to cover the arse-cheek marked ‘Safeguarding’? Seriously not impressed. “I see. Well, rest assured that between G’s appointments with the GP, the local hospital, the secondary referral centre and the supra-regional tertiary referral centre, G sees an ample sufficiency of doctors. And if the Local Authority wants a medical report for the Annual Review, I suggest you recommend them to look in the files and write to G’s supervising generalist at Local Hospital, who is responsible for co-ordination of all the other elements of G’s care. I know there is a letter from Dr. W. in the LA files, because she copies me in on all correspondence related to G.”
“Doc-tor Dubb-ell-yew, Lo-cal Hos-pit-al”, says the doctor, evidently writing the information down.
And now I am kicking myself for feeling I need to propitiate the LA by spoon-feeding them Dr. W’s name. For needing to present myself as reasonable, when the LA doesn’t bother. For making life easy for them, when they have a track-record of making things so bloody difficult for me. For being a patsy.
I have an unpleasant sensation of having been tripped up in a game whose rules I haven’t read, and whose moves I suspect but don’t understand: a gigantic swirling vortex of Blind Man’s Double-Bluff. But then I remember that there is a rule-book and that the smart thing to do is work out the game, then refuse to play it.
Because this isn’t about playing games. It’s about me helping the LA, and the LA helping me, to help Grenouille.