You can get all sorts of side effects with diabetes and in thirty years on insulin I've had a few and one of them, anyway, was playing up, not responding to the usual stuff. It was a Saturday and doctors working outside of a few hours a day, for a few days a week is unheard of; all those facilities lying idle, labs, clinics, x-ray suites, operating theatres deserted, while Doc and his Mrs are playing golf, or trawling the antique shops, or maybe off for a weekend in some fabulous resort, courtesy of PharmaCorp. Amazing how something so inherently acute, so seven-days-a-week, operates only on a nine-to five, Monday-to-Friday basis. Bastards. So I strapped myself into the Citroen rocketcar and roared off to the town. The McPharmacist was behind the counter. This stuff, it's not working any more; is there anything else? Aye, you need such and such. Okay I'll have one, emmachisett, as they say at the car boot sales. Och, nae charge I'll put it on the minor ailments thingy, you're well eligible, just sign here.
How very civilised, I thought, the knowledge of the minor ailments scheme coming back into my mind.
If you're sick, anyway, and you get some pisssant little complaint - sore throat, sore arse, boils, whatever - you just go and see the chemist and he or she gives you some stuff, gratis, or for free, as we say, here in the land of linguistic ruin. I guess the thinking is that a) it will save a more costly visit to some useless, greedy, indifferent doctorbastard and b) it may well prevent something minor becoming something worse. Now, we are not rich here in Ishmaelia, even so, I could easily have paid for that medication but there are many, further along the have-not shore, to whom an unbudgeted-for five or six quid is significant. It cheered me up for the rest of the weekend, knowing that we had reached a stage at where the state had taken some of the sting out of illness and people won't be in pain or irritation or fear, waiting for doctor to open up for his miserable few hours a day, won't have to go and sit in some shithole waiting room, reading doctor's cast-off Country Life magazines, tyrannised by gargoyle, misanthropic, sour-faced harridan-bitch receptionists, with wheezy people coughing germs all over them but can just wander into a chemist's and get a bit sorted. Mr George Bernard Shaw remarked that all professions are a conspiracy against the layman, and he was correct but anything which breaks the stranglehold that GPs have over people's lives, even if it means switching to the mercies of another over-rated professional, is to be heartily applauded.
There is something so liberating, so egalitarian, about a quick, discreet consultation over the counter, as opposed to sitting, stiff-arsed, for an hour in a waiting room and then creeping into doctor's grumpy, wee cell, like a supplicant, knowing full well that the horrible know-it-all bastard hasn't washed the hand that he's just had up some old geezer's arse and if you dare ask him if he has he'll strike you off and no other fucking doctorbastard will touch you ever again. I'd hang one in ten of them, see what happened to their work to golf ratio then. But in the meantime, if I possibly can, I am only going to have minor, free market style ailments, and I'm going to be the chemist's best customer. Fuck it, they get paid, don't they, just not as much as Doctor Shit does.