I had to have surgery on my shoulders after an acccident. The one side needed ligaments repaired but the other side was diagnosed as a rotator cuff injury which is serious and it’s usually something that athletes manage to do to themselves, not an average mother. I did as I was advised by my doctor which left me with no sense of control or power over the situation. Even though I was in so much pain, there were times when I felt invisible. I wondered whether the surgeon remembered my name, whether he’d studied my case history, seen the results of the innumerable tests I’d undergone, and whether he knew which shoulder he had to operate on – the right or the left. So, I took a pen and wrote a large R on my right arm. He’d asked so few questions. Did he know how I came by this injury? Getting down to business and moving on seemed to be all he was interested in doing. I needed him to look at me straight in the eye. I needed to see a smile on his face or a sympathetic expression. But no, he was entirely focused on his work. ‘How painful will this operation be?’ I needed to know. ‘That’s hard for me to tell as I’m always on the other side of the operating table you know.’ I was hurting, afraid and very upset and I needed some human kindness. How come he didn’t know that? Shouldn’t he have learned that at medical school?