......These are the words that I wailed, as I finally left my consulting room this evening. The receptionist laughed her throaty laugh, and didn't try to console me with platitudes. She knows I'm telling the truth... or at least a partial truth. The fact is, as much as you might think that patients come to see a doctor to get medical advice, this is often far from the reality. Why seek advice from Dr Jellyhead, when you can consult the latest issue of Woman's Day? Why ask my humble opinion about a symptom when you can google 'sore throat' and conclude that you have acute thyroiditis? Why bother to ask the GP what they think, when your neighbour can tell you across the fence that you definitely have what she had last week? (which needed that particular medication to clear it up). Just figure out your own diagnosis, then come to the GP to demand the appropriate tests/medication/referral to a specialist. (Am I sounding a little bit *TETCHY* here?!!!!)
Today, a young man of 16 came to see me with his mother. The boy, 'Nate', walked in with a slight limp, and his ankle was mildly swollen. He explained he'd played a game of football the previous day, and noticed his ankle to be sore as he came off the field. He couldn't recall noticing anything amiss before that moment. No pain, no' snaps' or 'cracks'. This morning he found the ankle was more sore, and had swelled up.
Now this boy's mother was a nurse, and as much as I have great respect for nurses in a medical sense, they are often terrible patients, and terrible patients' mothers (Heather, don't hate me for saying this! I'm not referring to you! And I'm sure doctors as patients must be the all-time worst!). Nurses have seen too many dodgy doctors, they have seen too many serious illnesses and complications. The nurse patients that drive me crazy have reached the stage of distrusting everything a doctor says, and fearing every illness or injury is their (or their child's) last. I understand this, but nevertheless it drives me nuts.
So I see Nate, and check him over thoroughly. His ankle is minimally swollen, not at all bruised, stable, and he was able to bear weight easily. It is not broken. I'll run up & down my street naked tomorrow if that ankle is broken. ANYWAY. I tell the mother why I think it is a sprain. I tell her that it would be extremely unlikely that someone could break their ankle and not notice it. I ask her to continue with the treatment she's given Nate so far. And, to appease her(because I know she's worried), I give her an X-ray form, to use if the ankle gets worse, or doesn't improve over a few days.
Sound like sensible advice? Well of course it was - I'm full of sensible advice. Ask me any question, I'll give you the sensibullest advice you could ever imagine. But did the bad bad Nate's mother take any notice of what I said? Nooooooooooooooo she did not. Later this afternoon, we got a from call from the local X-ray facility, asking a question about Nate's X-ray form. Nate and his mother were there, getting the X-ray already! HMMPH! Pah! Stomp! *Various other noises of the temper tantrum variety*
I'm nothing but a writer of slips, a paper pusher! I am a referral service!
Also, I'm a whiny baby. Whining in my blog, over and over...... nooooo-one listens to meee!!!!