Wednesday, 11 January 2012

More Expensive Than Uranium

I have two GPs who I see on a semi-regular basis; both excellent medical men in their way, but both with certain personal quirks that turn my regular visits from dull routine into amusing interludes. The first,* Dr. Ken, has a curious habit of continually saying "mmhm, mmhm, mmhm, mmhm" whilst you speak to him (I have actually discussed this with another patient, so I know it's not just me).

Initially, I assumed he must have gorged on peanut butter before letting me in to his office, and the curious masticating noise was the sound of him trying to detach it from the roof of his mouth. I have since been forced to revise this view, however, and now my best guess is that at some point as a medical student he must have gone on some kind of "relating to patients" course and believes that frequent low-level humming noises are a soothing way of indicating his interest and concern, and not just extremely irritating.

My other GP, Boris, has never made any unexpected murmurs, susurrations, sighs, soughs or rumbles - which is to his credit. However, he does have a somewhat quirky sense of humour; last year, when receiving my regular blood test results, he gravely informed me I was pregnant and then burst into hysterical peals of laughter. Fortunately, due to a) being used to him and b) being extremely sure I was not, I did actually find it funny, but I imagine he needs to be careful precisely who he pulls that joke on.

Today I visited Dr. Boris to get my prescription for Somatuline Autogel injections, as agreed with my endocrinologist. He looked it up in his little dictionary of medicines, looked up at me and said, "Did you know this is more expensive than uranium?"***

Never having previously considered the price of uranium (as I am neither a nuclear scientist nor intent on causing mass terror) - and slightly concerned that my GP knew the exact cost of uranium yet had to look up my medication in a book - I asked him how he knew. Apparently the food critic, Giles Coren, recently wrote a bit of a rant about Pizza Express, in which he calculated that the price they charge for extra olives makes the olives, gram for gram, more expensive than uranium - which, I imagine, means that my lanreotide injections are significantly more expensive than uranium.

I can't guarantee that this story is true, and I foolishly didn't think to ask whether this valuation applied to enriched, depleted or farm-fresh newly-mined uranium. I can't look it up now, of course; I imagine that researching current uranium prices may well attract The Wrong Kind Of Attention. Probably just using the word "uranium" six times in one blog post is bad enough.

Anyway, I got my prescription and Dr. Boris instructed me that, should I be mugged whilst transferring the lanreotide injection from the pharmacy to the GP's surgery, I may hand over my purse and phone - but I have to fight them for the syringe.

*I won't name them, obviously, as I have no wish to get sued. Let's call them Ken and Boris, for no reason other than that they are excellent names and that both my doctors have extreme political views at opposing ends of the spectrum.**

**N.B. this is a lie.

***I have cost the NHS an awful lot more than I've ever paid in taxes >.>

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