Yesterday an angry rash appeared from nowhere above my right knee. The size of two 50c coins, it is raised and blistered. It doesn't hurt, it doesn't itch. It wasn't there in the morning but it was there in the afternoon.
"Is it growing?" LOML asked suspiciously from across the room. "Is it redder?"
"I don't think so, it's just... there."
"It's crazy looking, it looks like it wants to bite you. I swear it's omitting a low moan... I think you should go straight to the doctor," he said. "Rashes can be tricky."
So, after consulting the tricky rash, at eight o'clock last night I made the decision to head to the 24 hour medical centre up the road. It was a hot night without a trace of a breeze, the only sound the moaning coming from my right knee. Or was it a humming sound? A clunk?
"Do you have a preference for a doctor or will anyone do?" the receptionist asked reassuringly.
"Um, I guess anyone will do," I answered hesitantly.
"Right, first available then."
The waiting room was crowded. How many people could possibly need to see a doctor at 8pm on a Tuesday night? There was a little girl looking all feverish and sad - yes, she should definitely be here. An old guy coughing up his trachea in the corner - he can stay. But the rest of them? They look perfectly fine! That kid over there is practically dancing a jig he's so healthy. How about you all go home so me and my rash can move up the queue, how about it?
Three minutes after sitting down, my name was called. I didn't hear it at first - wasn't expecting such an early call. "Oh, that's me!" I said, finally. "That was so quick!" Countless eyes in the waiting room stared daggers at me. I felt the need to subtly lift my skirt so the evil trespasser on my leg would be visible. All eyes diverted.
I followed the doctor into his room. He was an older Indian gentleman, so thin I could see the outline of his eye sockets.
"Arbeddle ma saght remitty," he said as I sat down.
"I beg your pardon?" I answered.
"Arbeddle ma saght remitty," he repeated.
"Pardon?" I answered.
"Clapdran sillenatrab," he said firmly.
Oh no, I thought. This is going to be bad. It suddenly became very clear why Dr Anyone Will Do didn't have any patients waiting for him.
I have never been good with accents. I've been with my husband for sixteen years and I still can't really understand my Italian in-laws. I'm also no good with fast talkers, mumblers, whisperers or people that don't make eye contact. I know what you're thinking... I've had my ears checked and hearing assessed countless times - nothing wrong with them.
I think I'm just a bit stupid.
"It's not you, it's me," I explained to the doctor. "I'm really terrible at understanding accents. My ears are fine, it's just a processing thing. Actually I don't even know what it is, but I can't really understand you."
"Pardon?" he said.
And so it went on. I showed him the right knee, he recoiled in horror at the rash, he said something that sounded like "reglarg stepinsab itti, marrin blargh indo ittlebe reglam. Sorb ittle itti roob. Farlap hangout thinto ret?" and then sat back and waited for a response.
"Pardon?" I said.
This is how the conversation went from the doctor's point of view.
Doctor: You've got a nasty rash there, it could be from a bite or it could be shingles. I'll need to take a swab. Is it okay if I do that?
Doctor: You've got a nasty rash there, it could be from a bite or it could be shingles. I'll need to take a swab. Can I?
Doctor: For fucksake, what's wrong with you lady. I'm just going to just take the swab anyway and you can sign the form and then you can come back on Friday for the results and we can do it all again.
The doctor sighed audibly, took a long cotton bud thingy and jiggled it around on the rash and stuck it into the tube and started to write the details.
Doctor: Can I confirm your date of birth?
Doctor: You're a fucking loser lady. I can't believe this shit. I'm writing down that you're 85 because that's how well you hear.
Patient: So, will I need a cream or something?
Doctor: You need a cream? You need a freaking lobotomy lady. I'm writing you a script.
Patient: I can't read your hand writing... um...
Doctor: Of course you can't because you're a complete moron. I hope your rash eats you in the night.
Patient: Oh, um, okay... I'll just take the prescription to the chemist downstairs and I'm sure they'll know what it's for.
Doctor: The prescription says, "Just give this one anything that stings like hell." That's what it says. Now, get the fuck outta my office.
The prescription was for Betadine, boring old Betadine. I don't know what I have, I don't know what I'm supposed to do about it, but the receptionist said "see you Friday" so I imagine all will be revealed on Friday.
I'm taking LOML as my interpreter.
Um, how are you with accents? Hearing in general?
[Image found here]