Last week, following some frustrating telephone-tag, two rearranged and finally two cancelled (by them) appointments, I called the clinic in almost immediate response to a phone message from them. The relevant extension number (i.e. the one that they gave me to call) was out of service. After several tries in case of some strange technical malfunction that would disappear if I pressed the numbers progressively harder, I changed my strategy and called the alternate number. This number worked, and put me in touch with a switchboard operator who connected me...back to the out of service number. Having bitten the dining table, I gave up, to wait for the next available date to call (they're only open on Wednesdays and Fridays).
Yesterday, I made a personal appearance at the bright and shiny brand new community health building which houses, among other things, the diabetes clinic. At the main reception desk I was directed to the third floor.
Like a good boy I went to the third floor where I was told by a visibly disgruntled old-style receptionist that I was on the wrong floor ("This isn't diabetes, this is mental health!") and should instead go to the second floor where the clinic was most definitely located. I smiled my best "A pox on you, madam!" smile and shuffled sideways out of her eye line.
Like a good boy I then went to the second floor...which - bear in mind this is a NEW building - was utterly abandoned, devoid of office furniture and sprinkled lightly with small items of debris (pieces of paper, a broken pen and an upturned waste paper basket) but sadly, no tumbleweed. It was like suddenly happening upon Donald Trump's fact -finding and integrity team's offices.
After thoroughly exploring this dystopian wasteland, I returned - somewhat bemused - to the main reception (on the first or ground floor) only to find that the young woman who had so cheerfully sent me on my fruitless journey had vacated her position. She was, no doubt, hiding in shame. I gave up, again.
Then, however, the old Battle of Britain spirit returned. Thoughts of Douglas Bader fighting Jerry against the odds coursed through my addled brain. I would NOT give up! I would use...the telephone! Outside in the relative safety of the parking lot, I took a deep breath and called the out-of-service number...and got through immediately to 'Barb'. "Barb", I said, "I've just been sent to the4 third floor to find you, then sent to the second floor to find you, and can't find anyone else to ask where you are." I added a little sob for effect. "Oh no!" she said. "We're on the first floor!" I very nearly shouted "FUCK!" at that point, but, I'm proud to say, I maintained my composure. Undaunted (well, just a little daunted) I threw caution to the wind (it flew back into my face and flapped around for a while, but my dander was up) and made an appointment to be at the clinic next week. I'd done it at last. Only one more detail - a worrying detail given the elusive nature of the clinic - and a vital one at that.
With no little trepidation I asked where I needed to be at the agreed time..."Oh well" she said, with a trace of wicked humour creeping into her voice, "You'll need to go to the third floor."...................
So far, the local diabetes clinic is doing an incredible job of avoiding me. I can't wait to find out what happens next...