I’ve been called some choice things in my time. I don’t suppose I will ever be privy to the full range.

The Son, who was a Red Dwarf fan, hit upon the idea that henceforth his Mother, should be known as R’mere. In his mind, this was the perfect response to his love of the lead character Rimmer, known for his intergalactic adventures, and the French for Mother. He was rolling down the side of a snow-covered French slope at the time. I like to think it was an idea born of affection but suspect it was more affectation. It stuck.

I once received a letter addressed to Mrs Attila. I may be fierce, but surely I’m not that fierce. It turned out to be a best effort at Mrs A Tylor by someone who couldn’t spell. That one stuck too, for the duration of my job.

With form in answering to so many different names, you’d think it would not bother me, not to be called by name, but it does.

Since my adventures in the Big C began, I have learned to respond to “lovey” and “my darling” and “dear” and “my lovely”. While I think it is not meant unkindly, it annoys me, because I always feel as if I’m being spoken down to. it’s also often accompanied by a blessing. “Oh bless you,” a nurse might say as she strokes my arm. I’ve not been shy about saying I’ve come for the cure not the blessings and it’s not always well received.

What really gets on my goat is not being called by my name. I don’t mean the “lovey” stuff, but the imposter that seems to accompany me wherever I go where the Big C is involved. She’s a woman called Ann Taylor and I’ve tried just about every tack to shake her off.

I’ve tried ignoring her, but this only results in more confusion. I’ve tried saying “That it could be me but that’s not my name.” I’ve flagged it could be worth a second glance at the paperwork in case they mean me, and usually this is enough to do the trick, but last week I disgraced myself.

After pointing out that my name is Anna Tylor, I was told to “sit in that chair” and informed “I’m going to give you a chat Ann.” The chat, was not a chat like any chat I have ever had. It was more of an interrogation, in which my cane, that was resting on my lap, and my name, not to mention the tag on my notes that says I’m proper bonified blinky, were roundly ignored. It doesn’t matter how close you wiggle the paperwork. I can’t read it. That’s when I disgraced myself.

If you are about to have your breast eradiated, you want a bit of back chat. I bet that even Ann might have questions. “Will you listen to me,” I finally exploded while I explained in a not very calm way, that I am a real person with feelings and needs and a name and was sick to the back teeth of being treated as an admin task or a slab of meat or being ignored.

All of this clearly had the desired effect because the very next day I was asked my name and when my turn came it was not my name that was called. “Darling” she said. “I’m speaking to you.”
“My name is not Ann or Taylor,” I said.
“Doctor’s waiting,” she said as she stroked my arm. “Come on Darling,” she said as if she wanted the dog to hop down from the sofa.
“And it’s not Darling” I barked.

Written: Friday 10th February 2023