‘So,’ I say, smiling and welcoming despite the gonad grinding drudgery of my day duty, ‘What can I do for er….’ I pause as I move gaze from computer screen to the three year old boy in front of me, who has long hair tied into a pigtail at the back and is wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt, a suede fringed vest, denim shorts and sandals. It is February, right? In 2016?
How did I miss the news that a cryogenically preserved hippy commune had been defrosted and relocated to my practice area?
I look to the dad as though he can give me some sort of explanation for this weird vision. And he can, because he looks identical except, unlike his child, he has a long, straggly beard and, also unlike his child, he doesn’t have a tube of snot running down his face.
‘So,’ I repeat, looking again at the computer, ‘This is – uh – Legna?’ I turn, slightly helplessly, back to dad. ‘Pronounced Lej-na as in Legend? Or Len-ya like in Lasagne?’
‘Pronounced ‘Leg-na’ as in ‘Angel’ backwards, says dad. ‘It came to my life partner and I while we were meditating.’
‘Okayyyyy,’ I say in a Ricky Gervais type voice, staring, now, too long at the computer screen because I’m stumped for something to say, plus I’m swallowing hard for all sorts of reasons. So how did I miss the news that a cryogenically preserved hippy commune had been defrosted and relocated to my practice area?
Then I go on to have exactly the sort of woolly, spaced out, flowery, directionless consultation about this child’s cold that you’d expect, touching on pollution, diet, allergies, immunisations and homeopathy, but absolutely nothing relevant.
The only saving grace is that my standard proactive and reflex explanation of our no-antibiotic-policy is positively received on the basis that ‘We all know they’re toxic’. Yeah. Kind of. Er, man.
It was all over in about 15 minutes, allowing for some chanting.
I found it utterly exhausting. You’d expect this in maybe, I dunno, Cornwall or Dorset or Brighton or somewhere. Places where there are lots of tree-huggers. So places with lots of trees, I guess. But in deepest, darkest Essex? No trees here, except for Epping Forest, and that’s just for drug deals.
And all I can say, is thank Buddha for that. Give me a diamond geezer with an amoxicillin habit any day.
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield