Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Clock watching

You might wonder why, should you ever have cause to see a personal medical attendant, you spend ages sitting in a waiting room , browsing decade old National Geographics and the like. Perhaps a quick snapshot of this afternoon’s surgery will help explain.

15.00 Enter first patient. Young adult male. Suicidally depressed and in crisis. After a bit of a chat, we manage to tease out the principal cause, agree a management, with antidepressants and the safety net of a ring back any time offer, and fix a two week follow up appointment.

15.30 Enter second patient (appointment 15.10). He’s been drinking a lot lately—just fluids, not alcohol, after all he is only 14—and he has to get up a few times a night to pee. No he hasn’t brought.. but yes he can do a specimen. We find a pot. He pees. The stick shows he’s passing glucose syrup. We find a glucometer and prick his finger. His glucose is 24, or roughly four times normal. We agree he should go to the hospital and get started on insulin. This needs a phone call to arrange.

15.55 Enter third patient (appointment 15.20). She’s worried. She had a car accident a few days ago. Thing is she can’t remember it. She can’t remember if she ought to remember it. She plainly hasn’t had a significant head injury. She’s not had seizures in the past. We’ve no reason to think she has had one this time. Bur we’ve no convincing reason to think she hasn’t. She’d quite like to know, so we agree she needs a brain scan and a referral to a gerontologist for more clever tests. In the meantime I have to advise her not to drive anymore—not a problem right now, since her car has been written off, but still she needs to be advised.

16.20 Enter fourth patient (appointment 15.30). She needs to renew her annual repeat prescription for high blood pressure. So far her BP control has been o.k. Then this week she was told she might loose her job soon. And so might her husband. And her BP control has gone a bit wonky….

16.45 Enter fifth patient (appointment 15.40). “You’re running a bit late today—did you nod off for a bit?”

18.33 Enter DS Carter and WPC Watmough. Seems grabbing a punter by the neck and squeezing hard amounts to assault.

Hard to believe I know. Still at least Broadmoor might be a bit quieter.


alhi said...

I'm glad you deal with your patients' problems even if it means running over. I see a hospital consultant and go armed with a book as I know I'll always be waiting. I don't mind as I've often been the patient he's had to spend more time with.
Better having people kept waiting than have someone's suicide on your mind because you got rid of him in the allotted 10 minutes.

ageing student said...

You must be my Doctor - no use trying to deny it or hiding behind a pseudonym! I've read just about every magazine in your waiting room over the last few years. Seriously, though I really don't mind waiting as I have been the patient over-running on a couple of occasions.

Z said...

Maybe ten minutes isn't long enough to allow for every appointment?

Swiss Missus said...

I wish my dentist had National Geographic; his reading matter is of the terribly improving sort; think periodicals on saving whales and founding orphanages in Ecuador.

Poor Dr J. :(

Never mind; I shall come and visit you.

Nutty said...

No, Broadmoor won't be quieter, because once word goes around amongst the patients that you're a doctor, they'll all be queuing outside your room for free advice at their convenience.

Doctor Jest said...

alhi-- a very realistic and understanding view. I'm sure your GP appreciates your custom. thank you on their behalf.

ageing student-- Oh so that was you. How's that embarassing little problem going? Was the cream any good? ;-)

Z-- often not, but getting patients to predict how long they need hasn't worked at all well for us so it's what we're stuck with. To be fair, for most surgeries it works out prtty well.

Swiss Mrs-- why thank you. Is it too much to ask for a cake with a file in?

nutty-- sadly you're right. Once word gets out you get stargers dropping garments left right and centre to show you their scars and talk about their pills.

Swiss Missus said...

"Is it too much to ask for a cake with a file in?"

No, no, not at all. Of course not. Pls send specific requirements (for the file; not the cake). I do however reserve the right to talk to you about my piles in return, tho' I assure you I'll stop well short of garment-dropping.