It was a windy Wednesday morning and my GP surgery was full to the brim. I arrived just after the doors opened but usually there is a queue down the road waiting, so I knew that there would already be a few people in front of me. Prepared for the wait, I arranged for Ross to stay home with the kids and I took my book.
I gave my name at reception and searched for a seat amongst the sea of people, but there wasn’t one, so I sat in a corner on the floor and began to read. I pulled my jumper over my face as more sniffly noses and spluttering coughs filled the room. Sighs escaping from their mouths and the occasional eye roll, intermittently glancing at their watches before letting out another one. Engulfed in the pages of my book I barely noticed how long I was there, only lifting my head now and then to observe the madness.
As the hours went on the sighs got louder, and people started to approach the reception desk asking how much longer they would be. The woman behind the desk looked fed up too, but she assured them it wouldn’t be much longer whilst trying to sort out prescriptions, and rushing back and forth to one doctors office.
Then one doctor poked his head out of his office, door only slightly ajar as if restricted to that room, as if whatever he was dealing in inside could not be left,
‘Can I have a bit of help in here please’ He called out to staff with desperation in his voice. The sighs continued. People began to file in and out of the other offices as various doctors called different names. Each person sitting there like a baby bird waiting for a feed. Necks stretched eagerly every time a doctor swung open the door.
Then in came the ambulance crew.
The sighs became silent and the huffs and puffs filtered away as a man was brought out of the doctors office on a stretcher. One of the ambulance crew joked ‘Ay mate nothing like travelling in style’. The fed up expressions were nowhere to be seen as people glanced up gingerly from their laps at the man on the stretcher, feeling guilty that they had been so impatient. But we had all done it at one point, even me. By the time I was seen I had waited four hours, but seeing that man on the stretcher and wondering what was in store for him made me realise, right now I have time to waste.
At the moment, sitting on the floor of the germ infested GP surgery I wondered. The atmosphere had changed, the tension had left the air replacing it with a calmer almost somber feeling. As much as the stresses and pressures of the world divide us, there is a lot more in this world that connects us. Whilst it maybe won’t last and we as humans revert back to being hard done by, in that very moment the entire room was grateful.