Friday, February 11, 2011


I went to see the doctor this morning, to find out how fat I was.

Some doctors have a prized bedside manner. My doctor has the unrivalled ability to convince you that he cares not a jot for your wellbeing. I arrived on time to see the patient before me leave his consulting room, and then had fifteen minutes to read the South China Morning Post before I was called in.

Perhaps during this time my doctor had been carefully perusing my case notes. Or investigating the previous patient's condition. Or doing anything apart from staring out the window or trying to catch peanuts by throwing them in the air and catching them in his mouth.

I might have been convinced, if I hadn't wandered into the room and had him ask what I was there for. I was there for him to tell me about my cholesterol level, like he'd told me to. I wasn't there for somebody to act like he'd never seen me before and maybe had some passing interest in my medical history. Honestly, people, at least pretend that you care.

Once I'd told him what we were looking at, he pulled up my blood test, and improbably enough, after a month low in cheese but high in fibre, my cholesterol had dropped from an artery-quivering 7.4 to a not-so-bad 5.6 (or in more medical terminology, from YOU'RE GOING TO DIE, YOU'RE GOING TO DIE, YOUR VEINS ARE FULL OF PURE CHEESE, to Hmm, not looking too shabby).

He asked me what I'd done. I said I'd eaten less cheese. Which, given my pre-January diet of cheese, cheese and more cheese, was fairly accurate. I'd just rather have a doctor who was less surprised by his patient getting better. Or just less surprised. That tends to corrode the impression of an infallible, omniscient physician.

Not that I want a fully omniscient doctor. If he knew all about me watching Nowhere To Hide on holiday instead of going out on the lash, say, that could be quite embarrassing.

Anyway, now unfattened, I celebrated by going to Frites on Pottinger Street, and drinking two-and-a-half pints of Hoegaarden, after which I was a complete mess. Damn you, alcohol, indolent servant and harsh mistress that you are.


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