I finally had the GP appointment this morning which Clare booked me in for while I was away. It was needed for my six monthly medication review, and to discuss a couple of minor issues that may merit attention. I came away with a trial prescription for additional blood pressure medication. I've been on the same meds for the best part of ten years, and getting older, losing weight, diet change etc, doesn't always lead to desired improvement. The pharmacist who dealt with me was also interested in talking with me about my experience with the medication. I think it might be part of a piece of research work being undertaken. I can expect to receive letters about arranging specialist appointments some time soon.
When I visited the surgery last week with a prescription request, the reeptionist drew attention to an application form for patients in the practice to fill in, and request access to the practice's new on-line appoinment booking system. Recently I've been receiving tex message reminders of GP appointments to add to the email reminders from my dentists. As I abandoned the use of a paper diary a few years after retirement, I rely completely on Google Calendar and its notifications, delivered to every digital device I have. I vainly like to think it means I am more punctual, less likely to miss appointments and be in the wrong place, now that I tend to me more forgetful anyway. It does, however, depend on me remembering to switch on a phone or a tablet when I get, and on that score, I have put myself to shame a few times recently.
This evening we attended a play being put on this week in St John's Canton. It featured a mix of professional working with amateur actors who have been homeless. It was based on Charles Dickens' second Christmas story 'The Chimes' a project with the backing of the Chapter Arts Centre. The nave had been arranged with tiered seating facing inwards, and the cast used the south aisle and chancel as off stage areas.
There were many songs as well as dialogue in the style of musical theatre, plus an excellent hi-fi sound and video projection system, well used to provide the mise en scène. It was a fine piece of work, given a punchy contemporary feel by the use sound bytes from May and Thatcher, in addition to verbal quotes about poverty, homelessness and the benefit system from current political discourse, This highlighted an uncanny similarity between Dickensian and contemporary talk of the poor and of poverty.
I left, feeling aggrieved to think that the mindset of the rich problematising the poor has changed so much less that it could have. Really, it's the rich, refusing to share wealth and power which are the problem. As this was a largely secular take on past and present, it also occurred to me how much worse it would have been without the prophetic ministry of Christian and Jewish teachers, preachers and philanthropists. And how much harder it now is with a huge proportion of citizens losing their religion. At least this is compensated for, to a significant extent, by everyday Islamic philanthropy and good will towards the poor, exercised by by those who have little, as well as those who have much.