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Real life

NHS GPs never, ever have the answers I am seeking

Which is why my heart sank when Balham Footcare suggested I see a doctor about my crippled appendages

1 October 2016

9:00 AM

1 October 2016

9:00 AM

‘If you ask me,’ said the builder boyfriend, watching me hobble down the street as we set off for an early evening bite at the kebab shop, ‘you’re laminitic.

‘Think about it. You’ve got ludicrously small feet. They’re useless. Look at them. I’m surprised you can even balance on them. And you’ve gained a bit of weight, by your own admission. You’re like a thoroughbred horse. You’re carrying too much weight for your funny little shallow feet and you’ve gone lame. You’ve got laminitis. If you’re not careful, your pedal bones will rotate and then we’ll have to put you down. You need to get some weight off. Soaked hay for you. No more hard feed, after this kebab.’

All very amusing, I’m sure. But the fact remains, my feet hurt so badly, for reasons I can only guess, that I can barely walk. After the trip to the sportswear warehouse, I began wearing my improbably cheap designer trainers with every outfit in a bid to save my trotters, or should I say hooves.

But then I had to put a really nice outfit on for an occasion in town and I couldn’t bear it. I pushed my aching tootsies into a pair of wedges. And as I hobbled down the road to the Tube, balancing precariously on my crippled appendages, I was in so much pain I felt like The Little Mermaid. With every step I took, the pain became worse, until finally, exhausted by the agony, I fell over the side of my left shoe and felt something crunch.

‘Damn it!’ I cursed down the phone, for I was on the phone at the time, talking to the BB.‘I think I’ve broken one of the damn things now.’


And so, after exhortations from him to get it sorted, I looked online for podiatrists and found a choice of Balham Footcare or Foot Revival Ltd. I dialled the former, because, when push comes to shove, I’m not a foot fetishist wanting to go to a retrospective exhibition of the lost art of feet on a campsite in Somerset. I just want my feet to be made less painful.

And while we’re at it, I don’t want someone to meet ‘all my real estate needs’ either. I don’t have lots of real estate needs, plural. I just have one. I want to sell my flat. That’s one need. Singular.

I think what I’m trying to say is that I have a natural aversion to companies who use hyperbole.

This goes for supermarket food with messages on it. If I see a loaf of bread bearing the legend ‘Love Life!’ I will actively throw this loaf back down on the shelf and pick up another one that says nothing more presumptuous than ‘wholemeal’. I don’t want my bread to start lecturing me about how I live. For goodness sake, bread, hush your mouth. I’m up to here with people’s opinions. I don’t need the opinion of a loaf of bread, or a packet of raisins for that matter.

Similarly, if I see a little van going down the A3 bravely advertising: ‘Dave’s Drains. Call 07856…’ then I will note him down for future reference and call him before I call ‘Plumb-Angels — Keeping Your Home Happy!’ on the basis that my home has no right to start demanding happiness. I can barely keep any humans happy without worrying about my home wanting to be happy. It’s all too much.

And so because everything is so blooming full of itself, and nothing says what it really is any more, I dialled Balham Footcare and a nice, quiet, sensible man answered and listened to me describe how I can barely put my feet to the ground and then said: ‘You might want to go and see your doctor.’ Which was the one thing I was hoping he wouldn’t say, because since my local GP shut down and moved me to another one miles away, I have noticed that the new practice never answers the phone. And there is no parking anywhere near it. My home is the nearest place to park and my home is in the neighbouring suburb.

And so I sit on the phone dialling and redialling and listening to recorded messages, realising that although I can’t walk, I will have to walk to the doctor’s surgery to demand an appointment to ask him why I can’t walk. And in all likelihood, he won’t know, because no NHS GP has ever known anything I have asked him or her about anything, ever. And quite possibly, he or she will tell me to ring a podiatrist. Balham Footcare, for example.

As such, it might not be that ludicrous to go on a diet, take a sachet of Bute, and see if this isn’t just a spot of laminitis.


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