As anyone with a chronic medical condition will know, hospitals can sometimes seem like second homes. Waiting rooms take on the familiarity of our own living room to the point where we even have our favourite chair on which to sit and ponder. Routine visits to such places become awfully mundane and it’s always fun to let your imagination run a bit wilder than you would usually allow it to when faced with predictably unpredictable waiting times.
If my records are correct, my latest Neurologist appointment was to be my 20th such clinic to take place in these bland and lifeless rooms and I sat there thinking about my previous Neuros and trying to picture my current one, whom I had only seen twice before. He had one of those faces that was hard to place and I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I knew him from somewhere. When he finally emerged from his office to call me forward I was struck with a lightning-bolt of recognition – my Neurologist was James Bond! Well, he wasn’t really James Bond, but close enough – he bore an uncanny resemblance, in both manner and appearance, to the most humourless and dark of the 007s, Timothy Dalton. Luckily, Dalton was never one of my favourites and I was therefore not at all phased by this realisation, if it had been Daniel Craig on the other hand… swoon.
Faced with a real-life Bond, I geared myself up for the interrogation that was sure to follow; Bond, I mean, Neuro-man, didn’t disappoint. I stoically withstood the sort of pressured probing that the Secret Service would be proud of and responded well and in a dignified manner to all of the quick-fired questioning thrown at me. “How far can you walk?” “Do you always use a stick?” “Why do you think you need to use a wheelchair?” “Are you sure you’re not just faking all this?” OK, so that last question wasn’t real, but it might as well have been. After preforming a physical examination of my strength, Neuro-man / Bond consulted his notes and said with a cold, hard sneer, “You’re stronger than last time.” It wasn’t a question or even a statement, it was an accusation. Feeling flummoxed inside, I returned his stone-hard stare and said with a shrug, “MS is known for being variable.” Neuro-man’s face showed the slightest trace of a smile and in that instant I knew we were on the same side. “Right, well I’ll book you in for an MRI and see you again in 8 months”, he said, with a curt nod of the head. And I was free to go.