One Flu Over The Cuckoo Test

13Oct13

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Some people shouldn’t be allowed to work with the public.

I was in my local supermarket the other day and noticed a sign in their pharmacy that said, “Flu jabs £7”. There was no one in there so I walked in and asked for one. “You have to book” said the heavy set woman of Eastern European origin without looking up from her paperwork. I was the only one in there so I looked around and said, “When can you fit me in?” She sighed and produced an exercise book from under the counter. I winced each time she violently flipped a page. Then she stopped, lifted her head, looked me in the eye over the rims of her glasses and said, “Tomorrow at three”. I looked around the empty shop one more time for effect and said, “You can’t just do it now?”, “Tomorrow at three” she said as if I didn’t understand her the first time. I said, “Is there anything at all today?” “Tomorrow at three” she said, closed the exercise book, opened the till and said, “Seven pounds please”.

The next day at 3 pm  I returned to the empty shop. She was waiting, unsmiling, behind the counter. I told her my name and she checked the exercise book. She looked up, said, “Take a seat” and pointed at a chair at the side of the counter. I sat there for five minutes then she appeared from a side door which turned out to be a cubicle. She lifted her eyebrows to invite me in and then her eyes pointed to where I had to sit.

I sat at a little desk opposite her; she typed something into a computer and asked me my name. I wanted to tell her it was still the same as what she’d written in the exercise book but I wasn’t brave enough. She asked for my post code which I rattled off. After she typed it in, she said, “So what’s the full address?” As I gave it to her, I saw her eyes check it against what had appeared on her screen. It was becoming obvious, this was a test.

She said. “Is this your first flu jab this year?” I paused and said, “Yes and I was only planning on getting one”. “Good” she said, “You’re only supposed to get one a year”. Ah, a trick question, this test is getting more difficult, I’d better concentrate. “Are you allergic to eggs?” she asked. I thought for a second and confidently said, “No”. “Chicken?” she said. I paused again. Now that we were into the more difficult round of the quiz and she’d already snuck in at least one trick question, was she asking if I was allergic to chicken or if I was chicken? So far she’d made the process of getting a flu jab as painful as possible and I hadn’t even seen a needle yet so I was definitely chicken. Surely she wouldn’t ask that, would she? I decided she must mean allergic, so took a chance and said, “No”. It turned out to be the correct answer and the one that took me though to the next round.

After I’d passed “mental agility”, it was time to see how I coped with the “humiliation” and “physical pain” rounds. I rolled up my sleeve and she told me off because it didn’t go up far enough. She made me take my shirt off. That’s not a big deal to most people but I’m no body builder, never sunbath and apart from my wife, haven’t taken my shirt off in front of many sober women. I sat there, hoping she’d be gentle.

She said I’d feel a small scratch, a “scratch”? I don’t know much about medicine but I know enough to know, scratching someone with a hypodermic isn’t going to do anything for their immune system, then she darted me. It hurt a LOT, nothing like a scratch! Thankfully the pain only lasted a few seconds and I was done.

I was so pleased, I’d beaten her. She was determined not to give me what I wanted. It took me two days and rounds of intense questioning, physical humiliation and pain but I got a flu jab!  As I buttoned up my shirt, I couldn’t help but laugh. It was partly relief because I was glad it was over but mainly because I caught a glimpse of her plastic name tag. Under her name it said “Happy to help”.

Craic on!

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One Response to “One Flu Over The Cuckoo Test”

  1. Great stuff!


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