Friday, January 17, 2003

I've now been ill for one week and three days. I can tell I'm getting better, although I just can't seem to completely shake a cough that has me running out of the office all day because I'm conscious of irritating my co-workers.

But more to the point, *why* wouldn't my doctor see me? I know you're not supposed to go to the doctor when you've got a cold, but surely when it's been more than a week and you're not feeling any better, you might have cause for concern and/or a belief that it's time to pop some pills. Back in Canada, I was practically drug-free compared to lots of my friends, who seemed to go on antibiotics for the slightest thing and were always seeing their doctor. Here, it's like pulling teeth just to get your GP to see you.

Last year, I got a similar bug. A week or so later, I was having coughing fits that nearly made me faint and everyone insisted I needed to see a doctor. The problem was I hadn't registered anywhere yet. Three years in the UK and no major illness meant it was always on my list of to-do-eventually. I thought I could just pop into my local clinic and see someone, like the drop in clinics I was used to. But despite the fact that I was a local resident and had been there for three years, the clinic said they weren't obliged to put me on the register. They didn't seem to care that I was about to pass out in their reception, nor could they tell me where I should go instead. I nearly burst into tears. Finally the bf mentioned that he was already registered there - as we lived together, did that make any difference? Apparently it did, and I was given an emergency appointment.

This year, it was even worse. I didn't call my GP until after a week because I didn't think I ought to, but when I did, I was told I couldn't get an appointment until next week. So I put my foot down... and got a phone call from my GP the next day for a phone diagnosis. She brushed off all my concerns and said that as long as I wasn't showing ALL and not just *some* symptoms of a chest infection, there was no point in seeing me. She didn't even recommend an over-the-counter remedy that might help me out. Luckily I'm feeling better - but what would happen if it turned into bronchitis or pneumonia? I just don't get their dismissive, negative attitude.

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