'So, how are we today? On a scale of one to ten where one is hardly any pain at all, how painful is it for us at the moment?'
Well, quite a lot actually. For me, that is. For you, though? Well, I'd hope no more than one or two. I mean I know this is the NHS and all that but if your job's any more painful than that then I'd recommend a career change, quite honestly.
'So, what do we do during the day Tim? At work, are we?'
Well you are, dear boy. I suppose I am too. Lulu's sleeping rather noisily in her pushchair while this young slip of a lad goes through a checklist, ticking off answers and marking things on a picture of a human body. Male, I notice. Even upside down.
'Do we smoke?'
Well I don't. (Although by now I'm starting to get desperate!) Do you?
'Like a drink, do we?'
And finally, the pièce de résistance...
'So, what do we think is the cause of the problem then?'
Well, I know the cause of the problem is an underlying chronic auto-immune ailment that is making joint pain and stiffness a daily occurrence and - apparently - giving me a limp as I compensate for the uncomfortable pain in my right foot when walking . But apart from that...
I've only visited a physiotherapist once before. I'm sure they're not all like this. The other one wasn't. But then, that was almost twenty years ago. (A dodgy knee the result of being pushed out of an aeroplane... don't ask.)
Maybe they've been trained now, to talk this way. It's quite a feat, maintaining a conversation - let alone interrogation - in the second person. In fact, Jason doesn't quite manage it. Occasionally he slips into 'I' and 'you' and even forgets to correct himself. As a result, the narrative perspective is all over the place; I can't give him any credit for understanding his audience either. My ever-so-slightly sarcy comments are lost on him - as are a number of my answers judging by the way we seem to go round in circles.
'So, we've been sent by the consultant have we?'
'So, why do we think we've been sent here today?'
Is it me? Am I becoming more and more like Victor Meldrew? Or is the world out there becoming more and more unfathomable? I find the whole thing baffling. As well as tiring. As if being asked to tip-toe up and down a ward barefoot or balance on one leg while trying the catch a ball of screwed up paper isn't bad enough then trying to keep up with this verbal idiosyncrasy (or idiocy) leaves me exhausted. So if you'll excuse me...
We need a lie down.
News of my aching joints has reached the manufacturers of these two excellent products. The Deep Heat I know of old and love (and have already used on an aching back). The Regenovex - coming as capsules, pads and an ointments - is new to me but definitely worth a try: