Renovator’s delight

 

Many years ago I did a lot of home visits as a GP, sometimes working for Danny Beran at Eastern Suburbs Medical Service, and working in older established suburbs you would from time to time walk into a “renovator’s delight” to visit a patient. Sometimes the patient would be quite elderly and the rooms would be dimly lit. There would be paraphernalia everywhere and little mountains of bric-a-brac and inevitably biscuit-tins. No space on the kitchen table, you’d write your ‘script on your lap as you sat at the end of the bed. The “renovator’s delight” was perfectly consonant with the occupier.

 

At other times the “removator’s delight” would be occupied by someone quite younger, quite able-bodied. They’d be often sitting in a singlet (before singlets had any cache) and there’d be newspapers everywhere. And the medical problems bringing about the visit had often been as neglected as the house.

 

I’d look around and think “Why don’t they do anything about that roof? And changing a lightbulb or two isn’t that hard. They are neither so destitute nor disabled as to not be able to paint a room or two, or clean the windows”. Unspoken, of course.

 

then I’d move on.

 

The other extreme was always just as striking. Absurdly overcapitalised, sterile homes so magazine-ready one daren’t breathe – and these homes weren’t necessarily large.

 

Everyone is entitled to live as they want, and you can’t judge a book by its cover, they say. Still, only the blind take *no* notice of the cover.

 

………………..

 

When I look at a face and see all that could be improved, I mostly bite my lip. Upselling is not something I enjoy experiencing as a customer, so I try to avoid offering it working as a doctor – but every so often it slips out – as I look at a face one could call a “renovator’s delight” -

 

“Have you ever thought about………..???”

 

“What? No, I don’t want to look like that catwoman Wildenstein” I’ll sometimes hear in reply.

 

and I think of those beer-bellied, singleted young patients in their dilapidated homes and I think “No, there’s not much chance a lick of paint and a few well-struck nails will amount to “overcapitalisation”.

 

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