I am making my way around the makeshift quiz they’ve erected on medical screens at the GP surgery.
Prevented from leaving for fifteen minutes after the vaccine, in case of an allergic reaction, someone decided it would be a good idea to ask a bunch of questions about the Romans and neolithic fossils.
Waiting to receive her jab is a woman frantic with what appears to be a powerful needle phobia.
The nurses are gently holding her arm and saying,
“Don’t look, it will be over in a moment” but she’s not placated because anxiety lives in the future.
I try to avoid staring at her discomfort and instead answer, wrongly, a question about King Charles I.
Psychologist Kristen Neff described anxiety as “pain multiplied by resistance”.
In truth, she was talking about suffering but that’s what anxiety is.
When she gets home the lady in the surgery will probably compound her fear by feeling too ashamed to tell anyone about it.
I have been feeling anxious to the point of shame about an injury to one of Daisy’s claws that won’t seem to clear up.
The vet says he may have to remove it and that, as it is so securely attached, he’ll have to sedate her.
“That’s the last resort,” he told me on our first visit, several hundred pounds ago.
“Don’t tell me that,” I wanted to say but didn’t. Anxiety doesn’t respond well to phrases like “last resort”.
Ever since it has been on my mind. Wondering whether to get him to remove it or whether I should just try one more week of antibiotics until her eyes glaze over in an opioid stupor.
How can I tell people I’m so worried about my dog’s paw? It’s ludicrous.
What’s made matters worse is that having escaped any real side effects after my first dose of the vaccine, I have found myself unbelievably sleepy all week.
I’ve got so behind with my work that I have not managed to finish a piece I was commissioned to write entitled, “How to manage poor performance in employees with mental health difficulties,” that was due on Friday.
Late on Saturday I consider sending an email to apologise for my poor performance blaming it on mental health difficulties but fear they may think I’m being flippant, the thought of which makes me feel anxious.
At the dentist on Wednesday, while the hygienist scrapes my teeth so hard it seems inevitable that at any moment I will hear her say “Whoops,” as at least one of them comes hurtling out of my mouth and embeds itself into the door, I stare into her bright white light and try to stay awake by thinking about the dangers of dogs being sedated for minor surgery.
I have found soothing in strange places, like the Tik Tok account “Dinner With Jon”.
Essentially it’s a series of videos made by a man who lives alone cooking his tea while looking into the camera and talking to the viewer as if they’ve come round for dinner.
I showed it to my daughter who narrowed her eyes and said, “Jon is so creepy.”
The dog is, of course, entirely oblivious to it all and carrying on as if everything is fine which, as they are experts at living in the moment, it is.
But until it’s resolved one way or another I’ll content myself with watching videos about how to grow blueberries by squashing the fruits directly into a pot of compost and then later, I’ll probably have dinner with Jon.