Dr Leeches.

That’s my internal nom-de-plume categorisation of the wizened old duffer who occasionally wakes up and pretends he’s my physician. In the coming up two years we have lived here, I have been to the Surgery exactly twice. First up for a speedy referral to a proper health professional with knee fixing skills, and secondly – today – to demand a miracle cure for squatting mouse-lung.

My expectations were not high, and to be fair they weren’t met. Twenty minutes sat amongst very old people clearly just waiting to die failed to improve my already twitchy demeanour. Sometimes I feel my age and wistfully yearn a little for the power of youth, but this morning I gapped these stooped and twisted wraiths by coming up forty years. Anyone with a mortality fear avoids hospitals and health centres for very good reason – they are full of sick people reminding you of what is going to happen. Sooner or later.

Let’s hope later eh? Anyway the suited wurzel gave me the once over and declared I wasn’t undergoing a month long Asthma attack. I agreed with him, and further agreed that it wasn’t strep, or some new allergy or hay fever or alien mind probes. I even saved him the bother of dusting off the Peak Flow Meter having self-certified myself at a “Route Must Not Include Stairs” 400 li/m. Even for a Lungy Cripple as myself, that’s down 30{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} from a base that’s adequate at best.

Back in the days when I confused titles with wisdom, such a non-diagnosis would have left me tipping my hat and thanking the good Doctor for letting me waste his time. I’d probably have hacked my own leg off if he’d asked as well. Now, I’m a little less respectful and a little more direct; “What’s the plan then Doc, leeches again is it?

Oh how we laughed. Well coughed really but it was a moment of togetherness. In a flurry of activity not seen by this fella for about twenty years, he withdrew an armful of bloody and perscribed a course of pointless steroids that would have no effect other than to eat through my stomach lining. However, so desperate am I to remove my “Mouse-Lung on Board” sticker, I’ve downed the first six chased by a Nurofen* and now rattle as I make slow progress towards where the real drugs are kept.

£14 for a prescription? You can get a decent bottle for that. Apparently if the old soak remembers to send off a sample of my red stuff, he’ll give me a call back Friday to offer information on whether there’s anything nasty going on and/or a chance to stick my name down on the embalming schedule. Or was that he’ll only call if there’s a problem. I can’t remember, and I don’t suppose he will either.

Three years ago when this all went off, I bored friends, family and strangers alike with my imminent demise. I’m far more sanguine this time round because it feels the same, and so eventually the mouse shall pack up and leave, returning the fitness I cherished back in January.

Until that happens tho, I retain the right to be grumpy especially as Dr. L left me with a stern – if shaky fingered – warning to desist from any activities involving significant aerobic exercise and the cold. In keeping with my new found scepticism of all things health care, I think you can guess exactly how much notice I’ll be taking of that.

* Amusingly I’ve strained a back muscle while attempting to get some air into my lungs. Maybe it’s not as funny as it sounds.