‘The doctors don’t know what’s wrong with me and they don’t care.’
‘I’m sure they do care, Marjorie. It’s just they’re really busy. Not trying to make excuses or anything.’
‘The carers are the same. They come in, they go out. Sixteen minutes and that’s your lot. No-one wants to sit down and talk. And even when they do, they don’t want to listen.’
‘It’s difficult, isn’t it? When they have so many patients to see. No-one likes it. It’s symptomatic of a system under strain.’
‘Could you pass me that cardigan? Not that one, the other one.’
I drape it round her shoulders. She shrugs it on a little closer, her face slack with a depression as irresistible as gravity.
‘Do you have any family in town, Marjorie?’
‘There’s just one son left to me now. The one who never liked children. He’s an accountant. He chose that path in life. He doesn’t know what to do with me.’
‘I’m sure it must be hard on everyone.’
‘I had a daughter, but she died.’
‘I’m sorry. What did she die of?’
‘Cancer. Of the brain. She went to the doctor with these headaches. Sinusitis the doctor said. By the time they scanned her the tumour was as big as an egg. Dead in a month.’
‘That’s awful.’
‘And now this. I used to go down the day centre, but now I just sit indoors all day. I made some friends but they’re all gone. I’ve had every test you can think of. I’ve had cameras up me. They’ve taken no end of blood. Opened me up and rummaged around like a suitcase at a jumble sale. Looked at my heart. You name it they’ve done it. And they still can’t make up their minds. They put me on these water tablets but they haven’t done any good. I’m swelling up like a balloon.’
‘I think sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what’s going on. It’s not always straightforward. The next appointment might be the one that makes the breakthrough.’
She snorts, and grinds me into the carpet with her eyes.
‘You think?’

2 thoughts on “testing

  1. Absolutely. She actually has a good deal of support, family & professional, but I don’t think she’s come to terms with her situation and it’s making her very depressed. Difficult to deal with, because she sucks the positivity out of the room. I think it must be quite a strain on the wider family.


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