The Doctor Doesn’t Do Drugs
Margot rubbed the ice cube into her temple, it was the fifth self-help remedy she’d tried today and it wasn’t working. Her hand was numb with cold, possibly frostbite, but her head still throbbed. She called the doctor.
‘It’s an emergency,’ she said. ‘I think I may have a brain tumour.’ Then she wept, for effect.
She paid the taxi driver with a cold, wet ten pound note and a half-melted ice cube, then crawled into the surgery wearing two pairs of dark glasses and a large-brimmed hat.
The doctor was wearing sandals, in November, which wasn’t a good sign.
‘Try these,’ he said, sliding a small bottle of bright yellow pills across the table.
‘What are they?’ Margot asked.
‘A placebo,’ the doctor said. ‘But they’ll make you feel better.’
‘Not now that you’ve told me, they won’t.’ Margot pushed the bottle back towards the doctor.
‘Dammit! I’m such an idiot.’ The doctor slapped himself on the forehead and put the pills back in his drawer. ‘It’s just- I don’t like prescribing heavy medication. If you can harness the power of your mind, you can overcome anything.’
Margot noticed the string of coloured beads around the doctor’s neck. She wasn’t reassured. She remembered something she’d been told about sales: the first to speak loses. So she folded her arms and waited, glaring, although the effect was tempered somewhat by her dark glasses.
After a short pause the doctor lost the round, ‘Fine,’ he said. ‘Try these then.’
This bottle was smaller and contained five round red pills.
Margot eyed them suspiciously, ‘More placebo?’
‘Nope, definitely not, no way. Not these babies, these are the real deal.’
‘I can tell you’re lying.’
‘Dammit!’ the doctor hit himself in the head more forcefully, almost knocking himself off the chair.
‘Listen,’ Margot said. ‘All I want is the magic migraine pills I was prescribed last time, the white ones with the little S in the middle. Is that too much to ask? You are a bloody doctor after all.’
‘I didn’t want to be a doctor, you know-,’
Margot rubbed her temples, ‘Spare me the life story, just give me my pills.’
‘Fine! Take a seat in the waiting room, I’ll bring them out.’
Margot did as she was bid. The music in the waiting room was a hypnotic blend of guitar and Indian chanting, gentle and soothing. She closed her eyes.
‘Here you are,’ the doctor said. ‘Your pills.’
Margot tipped the contents of the bottle into her hand and examined the small white tablets.
‘You wrote this on by hand,’ she said. ‘In biro. Look, this one isn’t even an S, it’s a number eight. What kind of fool do you take me for, you bloody quack?’
‘Dammit!’ said the doctor. ‘I’m trying to show you that there’s another way. But fine, I give up. You can have your chemical hit, and all the associated side effects. I’ll write you a prescription. Wait here.’
Margot waited, enjoying the music and the relaxing atmosphere. It’s nice here, she thought to herself, even if that doctor is a bloody fool. Then it dawned on her – her headache had gone.
So she went home.
12/04/2014 Written in a post-migraine spaced out haze