I needed drugs. Medication, anyway. It was entirely my fault for putting it off for so long, but I’d run out of the pills I take, for gout, cholesterol, high blood pressure, middle age, take your pick.
I’m more afraid of gout than a heart attack, if I’m honest. It is the most painful pain I have ever known, worse than childbirth, I’m sure, but women may argue with me on that. I can help prevent attacks by eating the right things and not drinking, but nothing is more effective than Allopurinol, and who wants to stop drinking?
It was my first visit to a doctor here, the first time I’d seen one outside London. I was surprised that he, and not a receptionist, answered the phone. He was tetchy giving me the address.
My phone sat nav said his surgery was across town. I sighed and hailed a cab. Why, the driver asked, would I go to a doctor so far away? I called Shimon, who had recommended Dr Black. He sent me a link to the location. It was at the other end of Diezengof, twenty minutes walk, in Basel, a smart part of North Tel Aviv. When I knew more about the city I often went there to meet people for a drink.
The surgery was dark and scruffy, not how I expected a private doctor’s surgery to look. I shook the doctor’s small hand. He was older than me, trim, birdlike. Shimon had said he was very understanding, very sympathetic. Shimon isn’t the best judge of these things, it turned out.
The doctor swiped my insurance card and looked me up and down. He kept shaking his computer to make it work better as he typed his notes. All your problems come from being overweight, he said. He must have enjoyed saying it, because he put it again, in slightly different ways, several times. I don’t think this is true, but he doesn’t know my brothers.
He snarled as he took my pulse and was irritated when I gave my height in feet and inches, not metres, and my weight in kilograms, not pounds. He didn’t have a measure, or scales, which, of course, was a relief. We were both a mix of metric and imperial, I suppose. At the least, he was imperious. He didn’t ask about my sexual history, maybe he thought I have no sex life. By then I was in no mood to tell him anything, anyway.
He instructed me to take some tests, eight or nine of them. He smirked as he signed the form for an inspection of my prostate, which gives me no problem. We believe in pretentative medicine here, he said, primly. I don’t think it was unfair of him to want me to take these tests, but the way he spoke to me, his bedsidey manner, needed work. The whole business was demeaning, and somewhat demoralising. After this, I didn’t go to another doctor while I was in Tel Aviv.
But I got what I went for, a prescription for the medication I take, most importantly the one that prevents gout. I hadn’t taken any Allopurinol for six days, and I could already feel it building up in my toes and ankles.
I walked away quickly, through the late afternoon streets, looking for a pharmacy.
Today’s word: sum-im – drugs – סמים