In my professional dealings, as an advocate, with the NHS, and in my experience as a patient, humour has not always come easy for me though.
I clearly remember the radio show with one English comedian, at some point while living in rural North Wales from 2000 to 2006:
"Why do the Germans have effective public services? - because they don't have a sense of humour: When something goes wrong they give the Public servants hell." And he concluded drily: "You can't have it both - a sense of humour AND effective public services." Ouch.
But what is it, really, that gets my goat? Why do I even feel wary of certain NHS professionals?
One answer came to me today, as I was pushed into the scanner, lying flat on my back, on the stretcher. I clearly remembered the sense of warmth, care and humour of the three experienced professionals that had been present during my first scan. I had felt connected with them and grateful.
In the contemplative quiet lying in the scanner today, I realised why I had been right to be wary of some professionals, and at least one of them was in attendance today: I am sure there will be a behavioural toick-box sheet to be found somewhere, confirming that he did all the right things as he guided me into the scanning area. I felt he did not respect my space. To this I responded with subtle body language. That in turn made him speak loudly as if I must be deaf. Something was missing: His mind was closed to my being present, his mind and heart were closed. That can be caused by fear - and some of that may have been re-enforced by my assertion that I did not wish for him, the much younger man, to use my first name, an instinctive response the personal coldness I sensed. Being closed in this way can also be caused by focussing on overly behaviouristically oriented training.
I remember Odon von Horvath's novel 'Youth without God' where the sensitive teacher reflects - not about religion - but about the coldness in one student's eyes, which contributes to his decision in a complicated situation to follow his conscience against those without scruples.
Lying alone in the scanner, the human connection the young man refused to engage in, returns to me, as it were, is with me. As trust and hope, - also for my response the next time I meet Cold Eyes to be the most present I can be?