I’m in trouble with Dr. Deadpan again. I don’t know what it is about my kids’ current paediatrician. Either he doesn’t like kids or he doesn’t like mothers. Either way, it is quite likely he would be happier in another profession where he didn’t have to deal with either.

The last time I took my daughter to the clinic, he gad a go at me for being late. I wasn’t. Today, I was at the clinic early for an emergency appointment because my daughter was up in the night with earache. Usually there is a mob of sniffly, coughing or spotty kids to swap infections with but as school doesn’t start for another week, we were the only people there.

That didn’t matter to Dr. Deadpan, though. You would have thought that by presumptuously turning up for an emergency appointment I was kicking some more worthy or sicker child to the kerb. He grabbed a fluorescent green pen from his desk and slashed it (a little forcefully, I thought) over a set of papers. When he thrust it at me, I noticed that it was written in Spanish and all in capitals.

I debated with myself whether to tell him it was RUDE TO SHOUT, but discretion got the better part of valour when I noticed him fiddling with his stapler. I’ve never been into body piercing and did not think today would be a good day to start.

So, any way, according to the good doctor, if your child wakes you in the wee hours in fever or pain, you can call 012 and be assured that you will get a cita for the very next day. I tried to defend myself by saying that anytime I’d ever phoned for a cita, the earliest I’d ever been given an appointment was three days hence. A goggle eyed doctor spat back at me that this would never happen with the Pediatric Clinic.

Dr. Deadpan has a lot more faith in the system than I do, but I wasn’t about to argue. He barked at me about receiving a Tarjeta Roja for the meeting and I had a fleeting image of him pointing me off a football pitch. I had no idea what he was on about but nodded soothingly and scarpered with my children in tow,  clutching a prescription for ear drops.

Later when I had a chance to look at the document he’d given me, it all made more sense. Apparently, if you are good enough to follow the system, you will receive a Tarjeta Verde for each arranged medical appointment. If you have made an appointment and missed it you will get a Tarjeta Amarilla. For every three yellow cards, you will lose one green card.

Finally, if you have the bare-faced cheek to turn up with no cita at all and a child in pain, you, you devil, will receive a Tarjeta Roja. For every Tarjeta Roja you receive, you will lose one Tarjeta Verde.

In December, if you have collected a lot of Tarjeta Verde’s you have a chance to win… something. It doesn’t say on the paper what exactly and I sure as gun’s iron am not going back to ask.