In the bad old days when racist jokes were two a penny and hardly worth the price, there was one which went, what do you call a black man(actually we used another expression) with a gun. Sir. How we laughed, what jollity . But of course the wheel turns. Especially in the NHS which has become my second home.
Twenty years ago we had to take Leo to a children’s hospital in Victoria. The appointment was for nine. We duly arrived and took our places at the reception desk. No one there. The minutes ticked by still no one there. At 9.30 she sashayed in, good looking, finger nails to match and hair very much a la mode. She took a few minutes to get her act together. Eventually she opend the window. I immed iately complained that we had been there for 40 minutes and really this wasn’t good enough. The dusky maid looked at her well varnished nails, cocked an eye brow and calmly said, Well do you want to see the consultant or make a complaint? We got the message, toed the line and heads down shuffled in.
This all came back to me this week. After ten uneventful sessions of radio therapy I was due to see a consultant .Before then of course one had to queue in that ante chamber to death row which is the out patients at the Royal Marsden. Eventually I was in the system. Then a lady called my name. If she came from Kingston it wasn’t on Thames.Are you Hugh Thompson ,yes I am. Wait here. S he came back two minutes later and asked again are you Hugh Thompson. To which I replied you just asked me that do you think I would change my identity is such a short time. She had no finger nails but she did arch an eyebrow as she said,Are you being cheeky because we dont stand for that here. They don’t do humour in the health service. But they do do equality.
What’s my problem .? Can people really be colour blind?