Occupation? House elf.

July 6, 2011 § 4 Comments

The health visitor waddled over to check up on me yesterday. I say waddled because she was morbidly obese – surely slightly odd as a professional responsible for promoting health and wellbeing? I chose not to mention it.

Said health visitor also sounded like a character from that Victoria Wood sketch about a health farm, placing the emphasis heavily on the first syllable of her words, and going up at the end of her sentences. “How’s BAYbee? How’s MUMmy doing then?”

Everything is fine with me and the BAYbee. But she clearly had a script she had to stick to, and not much skill at preamble before launching into some rather personal questions. It went a bit like this:

“So is BAYbee feeding well? LOVElee…”
“Have you ever had a violent relationship?”
“How many soiled nappies is BAYbee doing a day?”
“Are you prone to depression? LOVElee…”
“Did you have a happy childhood?”

Now I can appreciate that she was trying to conduct a risk assessment based on my mental health and wellbeing, and my attitude towards my own upbringing. But perhaps she could have softened the questions somewhat by saying “Now I’m sorry that I have to ask you this” or some such thing. As it was I found myself replying with unhelpful one word answers –  a bit like a petulant teenager, really.

The icing on the cake was when she asked me my occupation.

“Are you still a marketing manager?”
“Er, well, no…” I reply. “I’m a stay-at-home-mum for now.”
“HOUSEwife. LOVElee,” she says.
“Really?” I say, “Do you have to write that? Because, erm, actually, I’m not a wife, you know.”
She thinks for a minute then replies: “Houseperson.” She writes it down with a triumphant flourish of her pen.

Houseperson? Houseperson?! How is this a description of my occupation? A person that resides in a house? What’s wrong with “full-time-mum”? Next time I am resolved to say “House elf.”


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§ 4 Responses to Occupation? House elf.

  • OH MY GOD! This post made me giggle but on futher thought – that’s bloody terrible! Houseperson??? She sound like a completely insensative oaf who’s got a bit to used to rattling off these questions without thinking about the feeling they might provoke. When my Mum was terminally ill, a home nurse asked her right out of the blue and cheery as you like “have you had any thoughts about where you’d like to die?”
    “A luxury island in the Seychelles if you could arrange it please” was the reply she got.
    It’s idiots like that and your health visitor that give the service a bad name.
    (I hope you said “Bye bye FATtee!” as she was leaving)

  • Nel says:

    I know! Those questions took me aback too, and said in just a monotone list reading way.

  • I'm So Fancy says:

    I have some opinions on the “health visitors” in this country and you did nothing to change them. Oh dear.

  • I laughed out loud – houseperson sounds about as human as housecoat. And as effective.
    I had similar questions at the well-baby clinic: Do you feel safe in your own home? Do you rent or own? Have you ever been hit by a man? The nurse did pepper the interigation with: so sorry to ask this but…. it didn’t help. Now whenever she makes an appointment to see me I feel that she is keeping an eye on me as I’m an older, single, first-time mother. Even though I have never been hit, I own my own home, and I feel very safe in it thank you very much.

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