You know, I don't get annoyed easily. Well, maybe I do, but I'm certainly not the type to get furious at the drop of a hat. And when I do get peeved, I am usually over it pretty quickly. I either say my piece, or I make myself think about what difficulties the other person may be dealing with, and that snaps me out of being angry. But this week I've been bothered by a couple of things, and I'm still stewing.
The first annoyance began when a patient, 'Victoria', returned to see me after trying a medication I'd prescribed her. I asked her how she was going with her tablets - were there any problems? Victoria reported that the medication itself wasn't bothering her, but that it was hard to remember to take it for 3 nights on, 3 nights off. I frowned. "The chemist told me to take it that way", Victoria explained. I felt myself getting steamed-up.
"Well, that's unusual", I replied. "This was a prescribed medication. The chemist should call me to discuss it if they feel there's a problem with the directions." And indeed that would be the professional thing to do. However, this chemist, without even having the courtesy to conference with me, had advised a patient of mine to take her medication in a fashion which will mean she never gets the full effect. Victoria may as well be taking jellybeans for all the good it will do her taken in this way.
I am the first to admit that a good chemist is the saviour of many a patient. There have been a few occasions where a chemist has called me to check my prescription directions, and has saved me from giving my patient an excessive dose of a medication. None of these medications would have caused a fatality, but they would have made the patient feel pretty awful. And as much as I try my best to be safe and careful, one day I could make a mistake that has the potential to kill a patient. Chemists watch for these errors, and they truly save lives, and save our doctoring butts.
That said, I object to having my directions completely over-ruled, without so much as a phone call. It is rude, it is presumptuous, and it has been to the detriment of Victoria. And I think I need to make a quiet phone call and politely express my thoughts about what occurred.
I was tucking Laura into bed last night, and had already kissed her goodnight when she called me back. "Mum?"
"What, love?" I enquired.
"Mrs D (the librarian at Laura's school) says 8 o'clock is too late to go to bed".
My frown from earlier in the week reappeared.
"Don't worry sweetie, she's not your parent", I soothed.
"But she says it's too late for going to sleep", Laura persisted.
"Well, she's not your parent", I reiterated. "Daddy and I will decide what's best for you".
I felt my annoyance rise anew against the chemist, and now against this teacher, too - advising my patients, and my daughter, without knowing the full details. The chemist did not know the full clinical details of my patient's condition. And this teacher does not know that Fatty & I have been trying to deal with Laura's nighttime insomnia, because of which Laura has been lying awake from her 7:30 bedtime until 8:45 or 9 pm most nights, tossing & turning. Mrs D doesn't know that we have recently instigated a new plan involving making sure Laura gets plenty of exercise each day, playing soft lulling music in her room at bedtime, and putting her to bed a little later, so she has less time to toss & turn. This may end up being a temporary measure, until her anxiety about getting to sleep dies down. But last night Laura was asleep within 20 minutes, and that has been a huge relief for both her, and for Fatty and I.
I would be happy for a chemist, or a teacher, to raise an issue with me. There have certainly been times when I have taken on board advice from either of these professional groups, and changed my way of doing things. I just don't like it being done behind my back.
This tirade is now over.