Whenever the red mist descends upon me, I remember an article that Stephen Fry - a talented lad – once wrote for The Listener about losing his sock. I haven’t lost my sock – on this occasion, at least – but my personal DEFCON is fast approaching pushtheredfuckingbuttonandtohellwith’emall.
‘I am angry. I am really angry. I am so angry I can barely go to the lavatory. I am fuming. I don’t think I’ve ever been crosser. If you poured boiling jam down the back of my neck, set fire to my trousers, defecated on the back seat of my car and forced me to stare without blinking at the cartoon of myself that accompanies this article I couldn’t be more furious. Hopping mad about sums it up.’
I’ve managed to empty my bladder, but it was touch and go for a bit.
I fought my way into Coventry during the rush hour this morning for an appointment with my consultant. She gravely thanked me for sending her my back-to-front heart report, and told me that I definitely do need a laparoscopic exploration. I nodded expectantly, waiting for her to announce why she had summoned me back to her clinic instead of simply noting the whole peculiar heart-thing and rescheduling my (postponed-because-of-said cardiac-weirdness) operation.
But there was nothing of the sort forthcoming. She merely started to write out another surgery form, identical in every way to the one she wrote out last September… when she cheerfully bunged me on her laparoscopy waiting list.
I furrowed my brow. She’d forgotten – evidently – that we’ve already driven round this particular roundabout.
I had been scheduled for the knife on the 1st of February - and made that fact clear in every piece of correspondence. I had only agreed with her secretary to postpone the surgery (this was during Consultant’s extended holiday: I was the first case upon her return) because – and feel free to call me cautious – I had thought Consultant might like to be aware that my abdominal arteries and veins are probably somewhere fairly unusual. Her secretary had assured me that she had spoken to her, and simply re-scheduling the Lap was not an option: she wanted to see me in clinic. Furthermore, it has only been by utilising a judicious mixture of furious complaint and wheedling charm that I am not waiting until the end of April for today’s appointment.
I toyed with the idea of remonstrating loudly about the pitiful miscommunication, the complete waste of her time, my time, my diesel, a morning’s childcare costs, and five months of my dwindling amount of child-bearing life, but I couldn’t see much actual benefit in it. I’ve always been a firm believer in making the person cutting your belly open (whilst driving a camera up your fanny) like you as much as humanly possible.
So I sat schtum, and grimly waited to be handed another form. ‘Her list’s only a couple of months,’ I thought. ‘You can cope with that. Cool blue oceans!’ or some such shit.
She stopped scribbling away and looked up.
‘Last time you were here we spoke about your weight. (We did. She told me it would be good to lose some. I agreed. I know an anaesthetist well. I know how tricky it can be to knock out fat people safely. I am totally on board with the losing-weight-is-good concept. But I… didn’t. She hadn’t seemed quite rabid enough about it, I suppose.) Now, before I put you on my waiting list, I think we need to get your BMI down.’
‘Just hop on these scales, please. I’ll take a kilo off for your boots.’
They were kind scales. Even in my boots, I weighed 4lbs less than I did 3 days ago standing stark naked, having squeezed out every drop of pee I could.
She stabbed around on a BMI chart and merrily announced that I would only have to lose a stone before she would accept me for surgery. Or, to put it another way, I’d only have to lose a stone in order to return to exactly where I was last September, when I weighed exactly the same as I do now.
I’m never wearing this skirt again. It obviously does nothing for me.
‘It’s only a stone!’ she said, evidently noting that my features had clouded over. ’But you need to get down to at least 88kg please.’
She tucked my surgery form firmly back into my folder, ignoring my outstretched paw.
‘Give (secretary) a call as soon as you lose the weight; she’ll find this form in your notes and put you on the waiting list straight away!’
I thanked her through gritted teeth, and marched out of clinic.
And came home.
And examined a BMI chart.
Her chart must have been as kind as her scales, because 88kg is still a BMI of 32 and unless I insist on using her set of scales again, I have to lose two stone, not one.
I am now a sobbing, angry, frustrated, premenstrual fat woman with a growling empty stomach.
Do Not Approach.