Portia. Sounds like Porsche – appropriate, actually, because she works so quickly. She’s stylish, too, with a bright, economic kind of aesthetic that perfectly complements her therapist’s uniform: henna-red hair cut in an angular bob; red nails, and a pair of round sunglasses in a turtle green frame.
‘Are you’s okay, eJim? Wha’s the matter? You seems a bit flat.’
‘Yeah – I’m okay, thanks Portia. This patient we’re going to – it’s difficult. And when I got back to the office to speak to one of the lead nurses, everyone was so stressy and snippy. It didn’t help that manager was wandering around with her notepad, giving me the evil eye.’
‘I’m sure she was too a-busy thinking about her looshus ass to worry about poor little Jimminy Cricket’
It’s fantastic that Portia’s agreed to come with me for this follow-up visit. It’s such a depressing case of self-neglect, I feel in need of psychic protection. The patient had cried when I spoke to him quite firmly about what it might mean to his health if he continued to refuse help, slumped on his chair by the window, the room so rank, run-down and malodorous, it felt like I’d been pitched blue-gloves first into an ante-room in Hell.
And of course, Portia is as dynamic and effective as ever. It’s a pleasure to watch her, effortlessly moving through the place, as refreshing and galvanising as the breeze through that window she opened so discreetly. The patient opens to her, too, irresistibly drawn – as everyone is – by her frank and life-affirming demeanour.
‘There you go my lovely!’ she says, shaking his hand. ‘Is a pleshur to meet you. Take care, and we see you soon, okay? Okay!’
And we’re out of there.
Back in the car, she turns to look at me.
‘Feeling not so flat now?’ she says.
‘Yeah! Thanks for helping me out.’
‘Of course!’ she says, then resting an elbow out of the car window, drops her round sunglasses down and gives me a big, lipsticky smile. ‘So come on, Jimminy Cricket! Less’ go!’