You go to a rugby match to be entertained, not to be annoyed.
Sitting in the Horse Show Pub three weeks ago, eating a full Irish breakfast before crossing the road to the RDS to watch Leinster play Racing-Metro, a friend said he had been to the doctor for a check up: a wise course of action, given our respective ages.
I avoided the subject while watching this evening’s match against Edinburgh. The last time I went for a check up was five years ago; it was not a good idea.
It cost €50 to see the GP and had been almost good value, but lost its merit in the last moment. The lungs were listened to, the blood pressure was checked; the questions were answered about exercise and diet (mostly honestly). I’m going to escape, I thought, I’m going to escape.
As I got up, he said, “One more thing, I see the cholesterol was 6.9 last time, much too high. I think you should come back for some blood tests next week”.
My heart sank.
I have a morbid fear of needles and blood and guts. I have problems with talks on drug addiction. I avoid medical documentaries so strongly that I will leave the room if there is one on television. I nearly fainted once at a lecture on medical ethics.
I reported to the health centre at 9.00 expecting the worst. A 30 second procedure took twenty minutes – fifteen of them spent with me recovering.
I went to a meeting afterwards a pale shade of grey.
“Are you a man or a mouse?” asked a colleague.
“A mouse”, I said “definitely a mouse”.
I only have the problems when I think about things.
A friend was cycling his bicycle down our road one windy day when a wheelie bin blew across and knocked him from his bicycle. His face was covered in blood as he pushed his bike in through our gate. I cleaned him up and applied antiseptic spray without the slightest feeling I was going to collapse. I just didn’t think about it.
The answer is not to think.
Not thinking would probably be the answer not only to fainting at the doctor’s, but also to most other things that are troubling. Moving along on auto-pilot, just responding instinctively to things that arise is a bit like being a white mouse in a laboratory test.
Man or mouse? Mouse is much easier.
Perhaps I should phone and ask for an appointment for a mouse.