Picture by Roger McLassus [License]
Today I finally got round to registering at a new doctor's surgery. It's only taken me 6 years. On the two or three near-death incidents that I've had since then, I've had to drive 8 miles to the old place, whereas this one is 2 minute's walk away from my flat.
There was a form, of course, and in addition they wanted some proof of identity. Photographic ID to prove who I was, and some proof of my address. The only photographic ID I've got is my passport, so I took that. As far as proving where I lived, they wanted what is becoming the standard these days.
In this digital, security conscious age where credit cards and passports contain smart chips, holograms and so on, this proof is none other than the super-secure "recent utility bill". Because it's not like any 10 year old with a word processor could possibly forge one of those. Oh, no.
As I was tearing the flat apart hunting for bills, I was almost tempted to see just how good my all-singing-all-dancing-printer-scanner is. All my bills are paid automatically by Direct Debit, so when letters from the electricity or water people come, I tend to chuck them on a pile. Sadly, there's more than one pile. And every time I need to find something, the piles get disturbed so that the most recent items are not always on the top.
I managed to find a lot from 2008. This was obviously a good year for bills, or maybe I just opened more of them. Then I found one from May 2010, but it was an electricity bill. The problem there is that they always address them to the letting agent rather than me. Even though they have no difficulty taking the money out of my bank account. So I needed a water bill.
Since these bills are apparently all the identity theives need, it was reassuring to know that if they broke in, they'd never find one recent enough. Or perhaps they'd already done that and taken all of the 2010 ones?
Finally, the last envelope on the last pile had a suitably recent letter. I'm not sure what they would have done at the health centre if I couldn't find it. I would have had to explain about my piles, and they would have said that if I had piles I should see a doctor, but not until I'd registered.
As part of the registration process, they get a nurse to examine you. This is normal practice, but I'm scared in case they find something terminal. They also gave me a small container which they want me to fill. "It's only to dip." said the receptionist. I'm not sure what that means - once the water has left my body, I don't really care what they do with it, though I'd advise them to stick to humous or taramasalata.
I suppose this means that I can't go to the pub tomorrow evening (the examination is on Thursday). Though if I did it would save a lot of hassle, as I might as well just fill the container with neat cider, and cut out the middle man (and my digestive system). Alternatively, I could use tap water. I'm tempted to do that and see what they diagnose.