Sunday, 20 October 2013

Danger Man episode 6: The cornered dog

The story so far: John Drake has had a biopsy to see whether he has prostate cancer. He has just received the results of the test from his GP, Dr Sixsmith.

Drake shifted around in the surgery chair, trying unsuccessfully to get comfortable. Dr Sixsmith sat in front of him, signing a series of prescriptions.
“There you are Mr Drake, that should keep you going for a few weeks. I think you’ll find there are fewer side effects with these, but if there’s any problem, just come back to me and we’ll try something else.” He pushed the prescriptions over his desk towards Drake.
“And the discomfort? There’s nothing to be done about that?”
“You mean after the prostate biopsy? It should settle down. You can try paracetamol for the time-being.”
Drake fixed Sixsmith with hard, steel-blue eyes. His jaw was clenched. 
“Have you any idea?”
“I’m sorry? About what?"
“About the biopsy.” Drake’s already pallid face turned white. “I mean you sit there, you hand out leaflets about what the procedure involves, and what the effects might be, but how everything’s alright in the end, and then afterwards you tell me to take a paracetamol. I mean seriously. Have you any idea?”
Sixsmith looked concerned. He leaned forward and nodded. “I can see you feel angry about this Mr Drake.”

Drake’s brain whirred. Was it anger? Was it pain? Or was it those damned statins? His emotions no longer seemed his own to control.
“Dr Sixsmith, I am as you know a secretive man. But at this point in my life I can tell you that during my work I have been sliced, pierced, burned, pummeled and half-drowned. I have been tortured by no end of ingenious devices. But nothing, nothing, has been as unpleasant, as undignified, nor as continually uncomfortable and unsettling afterwards as the medical procedure you have recently subjected me to.”
Dr Sixsmith nodded. “I’m sorry your experience of prostate biopsy has been a bad one Mr Drake, but having had it, perhaps we should be grateful for the good news that you do not have cancer. And let me assure you, that research has indicated most men do not have serious complications and...”
Drake stood and leaned on Sixsmith’s desk, causing the doctor to sit back in his chair. “Dr Sixsmith, I am not most men. I am an individual. And for this man...” Even as he was saying the words part of Drake felt embarrassed by his behaviour. This wasn’t like him. He imagined himself to be cool, clever, calculated, not a hot-head. But now he felt cornered, injured, like a baited dog.
“... for this man, enough is enough,” he hissed, as the doctor cowered in front of him. “When I came into your office eight months ago Dr Sixsmith, I was a well man. I fenced, sparred, ran and lived my life to the full. And today, following your very close attentions, I can do none of those things. Even sitting down is a difficult experience.”
Drake reached into his breast pocket, pulled out an envelope, and slapped it down onto the doctor’s desk. “That is a letter requesting a transfer to another practice. I wish to be left alone. Goodbye Dr Sixsmith."
He turned, marched to the door and slammed it behind him. Sixsmith sat looking at the door, trying to work out what had happened. Had he dealt with the situation badly? The air conditioning whirred. 
Then the handle of the door turned. Drake’s face appeared round the door.
“Sorry,” he said, padding over to the doctor’s desk and picking up his prescriptions. “Forgot these.”
He tiptoed back to the door and closed it gently behind him.