Tuesday, July 27, 2010

An encounter

The dynamics of the meeting were a little strange from the get-go.

Strange for me, I should say. I blame the inner dialogue of my brain. Why can't it ever just let me be?

I was lunching with representatives of Baxter - the dialysis people. It was a meeting called at their request and when you are granted an audience with those who supply the elixir of your life you don't tell them you're washing your hair.

I tried to put it in the most positive context. I made comparisons - imagine having the opportunity to sit down with RTE, UPC or Dublin Bus, the joy I would milk from telling them just what I think of their service and how they could improve themselves. It would turn into a rant, a monologue unbecoming of a lady, a scene.

But that wouldn't fly with Baxter, rage would have to be censored on its ferocious rush to translate thought to speech.

I managed nice. I possibly even excelled at small talk and dialysis jokes. But this light at the fringes did not cloak the unsettling thought that this lunch, this threesome of one patient and two professionals created an odd atmosphere.

One particular notion was on repeat, looping around, removing the cynic in me from our circle of cappuccinos to stand aside, observe and report back the uncomfortable truth.

"Pssst...These perfectly lovely people have livelihoods that are dependent on humans like you having useless kidneys. Your sickness is the misfortune that butters their bread, settles their bills, sees their children through private education".

It is probably the reason why you will never see a consultant having a pint with a patient. They make money from the negative events in our lives. You are thankful to them for saving you of course, but in the same way you are much obliged to the AA for jump-starting your car. It is a gratitude that comes from the head rather than the heart.

The logical in you is thanking them; the emotional in you can't breathe for all the sadness and words without syntax that if spoken would project from you in a scream and a twisted knot of bitterness, resentment and child-like fear. The ego and the id, Freud would quip.

I never wanted to cross paths with the HSE, with my consultants, with the good people at Baxter, with the bin men who collect my health waste, with pharmacists who just about suppress the dollar signs popping up in their eyeballs when I arrive at their counter carrying a prescription full of euro.

But they are all bit-part players on my stage now. The whole bloomin' lot of them, cashing in on the worst days of my life.


  1. I see you've become quite the media whore! I can't pick up a paper these days without your mug being in it! Good luck in the Games.

  2. nice writing
    - you know some folk are genuinely motivated in working in meaningful work and pharma is a big industry in ireland - Im sure some folk are happy to think their work can give them a job and do something worthwhile at same time - although not sure if that still applies to my friend who was making viagra in cork before it cloesd :)

    u know we never can predict what life has before us -
    be compassionate with urself too ;)
    take care