I arrive at the Memory Clinic three weeks later at 10.00am.
There are three receptionists, one of whom is obviously in training. All three are sat behind a screen (probably bullet proof) with a row of microphones on my side of the glass. The trainee asks for my name which I repeat twice and she still can’t understand my brand of English.
“Julie who?” She asks.
“Not Julie anything,” I respond, “It’s JILL Stowell.”
Trainee looks at me blankly.
“How are you spelling that?” She enquires.
I'm beginning to see the need for the bullet proof glass.
I raise my voice. Now all the patients-in-waiting know my name even if Trainee hasn’t grasped it yet.
“It’s Jill with a J. S.T.O.W.E.L.L.”
Trainee looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights and glances either side of her towards her mentors in a silent plea for help. The receptionist to her left is suddenly resurrected to a state which is more than comatose and less than animated.
“The microphone in front of you isn’t working, you’ll have to use this one.”
She nods at the area directly in front of her. I move over. I can feel my composure slipping away. In a voice that is now unnecessarily loud I repeat my name and I’m invited to take a seat. I turn abruptly, rolling my eyes in exasperation and tight lipped, I sit.