She took a few faltering steps forward. He sat on a high backed chair with bony elbows stuck out over the counter, thumbing restlessly through her documents. The hair under his cap riffled by the fan.
‘What’s this?’ he said, holding up her papers. ‘I don’t really like this.’ His voice, thick and officious, suggested incompetence on her part.
‘I don’t know,’ she stammered. ‘That’s just what I was given.’
He held up his hands to stop her and thrust the papers back.
‘Look,’ he said, ‘just take a seat over there will you, you can see we’re busy so you’ll just have to wait.’
She sat in a small holding pen, a water dispenser bubbled and the strip light hummed and she could hear the sound of her own breathing. She zipped up her case and waited, another family passed through. They were French and looked anxious, two parents and a grown up son fiddling with his passport. Eventually a small door opened.
‘Name?,’ came a voice.
‘Mrs Musorina,’ she replied.
‘Eighty-one,’ she mumbled.
‘Well it checks out this time so count yourself lucky. Come this way, the doctor is ready to see you now.’
Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen