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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Farewell, cruel world!

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.

The Editor


Anonymous Gary Miller said...

Ouch! Bureaucracy at its best eh?

Still, I'm glad it was just a questionnaire.

6:43 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

'Glad' was also one the gamut of emotions I experienced myself...

7:31 pm  
Blogger Kara said...

Perhaps the inoperable cancer one comes addressed to "resident", and with Valuable Coupon Offers inside.

Here in America, it of course comes neither in the mail nor the post, but as a garbled to insensibility message on the voicemail. For which they charge you extra.

Also glad it was a questionnaire.

5:40 pm  
Blogger stopbeingstupid said...


A friend of mine was waiting for test results and got a letter with the letters NHS pinted on it in red. She convinced herself that the red meant she was doomed.

It was actually one of those letters they send to everyone asking them to donate blood.

3:59 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Thanks, Kara - best laugh of the day :-)

5:46 pm  

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