My routine check at the oncology unit is upstaged by my doctor's thumb.

This morning I went to Rondebosch Medical hospital for my first routine check after the radiotherapy treatment I had. In my head, I would just breeze into the oncology unit, chat to my doctor, Doctor Hart and then fly out there again. Well, that was the theory. The reality is that somehow, life likes to take its own turns.

When I arrived at the hospital, Bilqis, Dr Hart's secretary, gave me a warm welcome. We were happy to see each other after all these months and the two of us competed to share as much as we could before my consultation with Doctor Hart.  Bilqis complimented me on my new hairstyle - a tightly curled arrangement that ended just past my neckline.  At this point, all the other ladies joined in on the conversation. Yes, they too, liked the new hairstyle. Did I cut my hair since they last saw me, they asked.

"No, I said," This is a 'minced' hairstyle. I went to bed with fairly loose locks and then somewhere between the warm nights and hot flushes, I woke up with a hairstyle reminiscent of the Afro. Then, as a compromise, I panel beat the front section and left the curls to do their own thing behind my head."

For the uninformed, "minced" hair is frizzy hair gone wrong.  In the good old days, before the GHD  and the Extensions era, there were far more folk who were vulnerable to the big 'mince'.  Nowadays, frizzy hair is  an anomoly; a throwback from the past. Unfortunately - or fortunately, I suppose,  there are some of us who cannot escape the 'mince' no matter how much we try.

Doctor Hart showing his sore thumb.

While we were having an animated conversation about the ups and downs of different hair types, Doctor Hart walked in. He held his thumb in the air for all to see and he looked squeamish.  He had somehow nicked his thumb.  Doctor Hart looked at Bilqees, asking her to double as a first aider. I could barely see a speck of blood.

"Oooh," said Bilqis. She gave the thumb a sideways glance.  "Get a plaster."

Doctor Hart looked at his thumb and then started sucking it.

Bilqis went into mild hysteria.

" Oh no, gross!  Did you just suck your blood?  Oh my goodness, you are going crazy. How can you suck your own blood? Please, get a plaster. " Doctor Hart ignored this tantrum and continued sucking his thumb. The other ladies were shellshocked and I gather even they were at a loss for words because of the thumb dilemma.

"My my," I said. "And here I am a witness to seeing how my doctor who is a respected specialist, the one who has to calm folk like me, being tripped up by a thumb."

There was no response. The thumb was the focus.

Doctor Hart, who seemed to be enjoying this drama, walked off to the chemotherapy room and came back, beaming. The thumb was rescued: there it sat with its big, fat, pink plaster.  Life was back to normal and  I happily followed my doc into his rooms.

Doctor Hart and Bilqees: the team that keeps me bubbly.

Our consultation was a breeze after all this drama. Doctor Hart is happy with my progress and I only need to see him in six months time again.

And, perhaps for my own good, I need to pick up some trauma counseling skills just in case we have a big toe calamity striking Doctor Hart and his team.


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