I finally drag myself out of bed at the third time of asking. It is shaping up to be one of those days; one when an ultra short to-do list will manage to get the better of me. Something about the lack of urgency spawned by a short to-do list has always been my besetting ‘sin’. Today, there is one thing that must needs be done – I’m off to the GP’s to have a 24 hour blood pressure monitoring device fitted.

I have always detested hospitals, and clinics, and GP offices and every other place medicines are dispensed. My earliest memories of such spaces – not by any means happy ones –  are inextricably bound up in the smell of folic acid, injections of chloroquine and the inevitable bout of manic itches that bookended my almost constant dalliance with malaria.

Having gotten myself out of bed, dispensed with my ablutions, and thrown on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, I call the cab company and prepare to head out to the GPs.

Today’s cabbie is not very chatty. I wonder if its first job for the day, or if he finds hospitals as depressing as I find them, or if his wife said some very hurtful words to him as he headed out for work, or… if he is just a mean chap.

–  KR medical

The words tumble out,  dragged out by his stern stare which jolts me out of my reverie and reminds me I haven’t stated my destination. The dispatcher at the cab company would have mentioned a destination but sometimes the cabbies insist that one states his destination – again.

The Admin Nurse looks Chinese – make that Korean or Nepalese or Taiwanese or any other Asian nationality in fact. They all blend into a category of faces I have never being able to deconstruct. Much the same way as they would be unable to  make out the subtle differences of facial morphology that make one black face distinct from the other. I pick a tag, shuffle to my seat and await the calling of my name.

The specialist nurse calls out my name. Lost in the world of my music, I fail to hear it the first time. The second time with a slightly raised voice she repeats the call. This time I hear it, and I walk towards the door marked ‘Nurse’.

– This will be quick she says. This goes on your belt clip, this goes around your arm, I’ll thread this through your sleeve, around your neck, down the front of your shirt and click the recorder in place. You’ll hear a beep every thirty minutes. That will be your clue to straighten your arm whilst the cuff contracts.

I nod my understanding as she completes the process of wiring me up.

– Too tight? Or just right she asks.
– Just right I reply.
– That’s you sorted then. I’ll see you tomorrow same time to retrieve the data. Okay`?

I nod my acquiescence. That took all of fifteen minutes. What to do with myself for the rest of the day is the big question.. It is only 9.30am… Sigh.

In praise of 3.00pm….

If clocking in at 9am is the final act that seals my very own Faustian exchange, 3.00pm heralds the first faint sniffs of a coming salvation.

Each day, a Bloke must lay the gifts of his time and skill on the altar of Mammon slaving away to earn his sustenance. Cups of coffee, endless trips to the loo, inane spreadsheets, chats with the intern and the occasional hard shift are all tools in the Bloke’s arsenal as he strives to make time pass quickly to justify the day’s pay. If the Bloke is lucky, make that uncommonly lucky, he finds his daily grind slightly more than remotely interesting. If he is like the rest of us, sometimes work is a long drawn out struggle with boredom.

After a break for coffees at 10.00am and lunch at 12.00 noon, I find that 2.00pm can often seem like the low point of the day. The conjoint action of a rush of blood to the stomach – especially if a heavy lunch was involved –  and the usually mind numbing meetings with clients typically leave me struggling to stay attentive.  Enter 3.00pm, an unlikely hero to the rescue. Maybe it is the fact that just after 3.00pm freedom from the drudgery of work suddenly seems a less elusive proposition,  or that other blokes are more likely to stand around and chat, or that we as a collective subconsciously switch into coasting down mode.  Day after day I have sensed a lift in my spirits and attention levels as the clock has chimed 3.00pm. Bar 5.00pm then, 3.00pm is my favourite time of the working day…

I wonder if the 3.00pm thing is a me-only thing?