Patient: Oh, morning doctor, yes I've just dropped by to ask whether there is anything you can do for this chronic back pain. I'm really suffering with it you know.
Dr: Ah, yes I can imagine that's a real killer. How long have your symptoms been going on?
Patient: Well, last two weeks really. I had thought it was on the mend but just recently its become intolerable.
Dr: Intolerable, you say?
Patient: Yes. I'm single as well and I don't get much home help now. Not with the cuts and all. I think I did it when I picked up a bag of heavy shopping. I'm really struggling what with not having much of a pension and the value stuff at the shops are on the bottom shelf. Having to ask the supermarket security guard to grab me a can of spaghetti hoops is really degrading.
Dr: Degrading, you say?
Patient: Oh, yes and it seems to take me forever to climb the stairs, doctor. Oh its so frustrating!
Dr: Really? Frustrating, you say?
Patient: Terribly! Oh, to be young again, like you! There was a lovely gentleman who would come and visit me, but he's stopped coming round now. Perhaps he's moved. I sit at home all day watching TV. I wish I could get out more but it really kills me. To be honest, I was in such pain on the way here I thought I might die! You used to give me those pills for depression. It would be good if you could prescribe those to me again as I'm frankly miserable. Oh and those good painkillers. Paracetamol doesn't touch this back!
Dr: Miserable? Oh dear. Well, Mr Entwhistle, I really do sympathise with your plight. Unfortunately, while we can send you for a scan, due to the cuts and the waiting list for back operations....well, you know what they say about backs, well the queue is going back around the block so to speak. There are alot of people in front of you. Younger people, you know they get priority because they're of a working age.
Patient: Yes, I fully understand that doctor.
Dr: And unfortunately due to the cutbacks, we have only a limited supply of anti-depressives at the moment. And the more powerful painkillers are more expensive and due to the cuts our managers have had to make some difficult decisions about who receives those. We simply can't afford to give them to everyone. You know how it is. Gosh, when will this recession end!?
Patient: Yes, doctor. I understand, I'm not a priority.
Dr: But, there is something we can offer you on a fast-track.
Patient: A fast track? Oh! What is that doctor?
Dr: Well, I can book you in for an appointment at the Royal Infirmary to see a specialist who will lay out for you a range of options. These are 'end of life' options. You'll be pleased to hear that your symptoms suggest to me that you could qualify for our fast track specialist service for end of life care.
Patient: End of life care?
Dr: Yes, you said life was miserable, intolerable, degrading and frustrating. That qualifies you for special treatment.
Patient: Oh, it is doctor. It is. Anything you could do to take it away would be fantastic. I came in here feeling like I might die and now you mention it, it would be a merciful release.
Dr: Well, these are things you might like to discuss with your specialist at your appointment.
Patient: I will do, doctor. To be honest, I thought that this might be the best avenue. My cousin told me he was going in to see an end of life specialist last Thursday. I think he made the right decision, given his age and the fact he was in that care home. God rest him, but I think he was right. He felt like a burden on his care workers. He always hated being a burden. Oh, I'd hate to be a burden. They had to empty his commode and everything, wash him down. Oh he hated it, being a burden. All on the British taxpayer too. He felt like he couldn't contribute to society anymore.
Dr: Well, if your back situation prolongs then there is a possibility you might have to consider some kind of nursing care, especially if nobody's giving you home help. Between you and I, I couldn't stand dependent on others either. I love my independence!
Patient: Oh, you're so right, doctor. I never want to be a burden or dependent. So, when is my appointment with the specialist?
Patient: As soon as that? Ah, that's wonderful. Oh, they say terrible things about it, but you can't knock the good old NHS, can you? They always come through for you in the end. Marvellous that you still help people even in these times of cuts and recession. Well, its been lovely having you as my doctor. I guess this is farewell. Thank, you for all your help, doctor!
Dr: That's my pleasure, Mr Entwhistle. Anytime! Well...anytime before Thursday!
Patient: Thank you, doctor. Good to see you're keeping your sense of humour! Even in these times of cuts! Bye, doctor!
Dr: Bye, bye, Mr Entwhistle.