Having but lately returned from an appointment with my diabetes nurse at which I discovered that the miserable half hour I spent three weeks ago waiting for blood tests had been largely wasted in that the only test they didn't
do was the crucial one which indicates how my diabetes is doing, I hobbled down to the front door to open it for that nice Mr Sainsbury who was bringing me a delivery of heavy groceries.
Prior to actually opening
the door, I grabbed the post out of the wire basket behind the letterbox in order to bring it back upstairs with me.
Before I continue with this anecdote, I should perhaps explain that I attended the colposcopy clinic at the Women's Hospital a couple of months ago for one of those regular girly tests which is intended to prevent one from turning into Jade Goody. (Tests which most women endure at their GP's surgery but for which I, being of an unbending frame, need the support of specialist furniture in order to achieve the necessary position. Even with
that support, the necessary position is very far from comfortable. And that's before
the test starts. Deep joy.) Anyroad up, I'm always informed of the appointment by the hospital direct rather than my GP's surgery acting as a go-between in these matters. Once the whole ghastly experience is over and done with for the next however many years, one tends to push it to the furthest recesses of one's increasingly-unreliable memory.
Back to my post. (Or 'mail', if you are American.) Today's post consisted of a white, A4 envelope, evidently containing quite a lot of paperwork. Assuming it was probably a communication from my trade union, I scanned the envelope for identifying marks whilst expressing my amazement to that nice man from Sainsburys that there were no changes to my order. As he high-tailed it back to his van to start transporting the crates up the path, I saw that the envelope was boldly marked Private & Confidential
and that the return address was the Women's Hospital.
I think I probably aged about ten years in the time it took me to get back up the stairs and open the envelope to discover the questionnaire within.
So, assuming this questionnaire contains the standard 'Is there anything else you'd like us to know?' box, I might just mention the fact that, whilst the difference between an envelope containing a questionnaire and one containing a 'Sorry, you have inoperable cancer' letter might be really obvious to anyone who works in the hospital, we are not all blessed with this insider expertise in the finer points of hospital stationery, and they might just like to think
about buying a nice rubber stamp with the words, 'Don't panic. This is just a questionnaire', on it.