Support the NHS. Support the people in it.
It’s time to take the kid upstairs, so Colin nods to the mum and says, ‘Quick kiss before he goes off to theatre?’ She leans over and pecks Colin on the cheek. Her pride and joy is wheeled away, his own cheek sadly dry.
Trying to work out a seventy-year-old lady’s alcohol consumption to record in the notes. I’ve established that wine is her poison.
Me: ‘And how much wine do you drink per day, would you say?’
Patient: ‘About three bottles on a good day.’
Me: ‘OK … And on a bad day?’
Patient: ‘On a bad day I only manage one.’
On offering a ear to help a depressed, often-suicidal young man
He must realize we have the same chat every time, but it clearly doesn’t matter – he just wants to know there’s someone out there who cares. And actually, that’s a very large part of what being a doctor is.
So we’ve got our equivalent of spelling out W-A-L-K-I-E-S in front of the dog or T-R-I-A-L S-E-P-A-R-A-T-I-O-N to fox an eavesdropping five-year-old.
You don’t cure depression, the same way you don’t cure asthma; you manage it. I’m the inhaler he’s decided to go with and I should be pleased he’s gone this long without an attack.
Except, I wasn’t really dealing with it, I was just getting on with it. I went six months without laughing, every smile was just an impression of one – I felt bereaved. I should have had counselling – in fact, my hospital should have arranged it. But there’s a mutual code of silence that keeps help from those who need it most.
Roger Fisher was a professor of law at Harvard University, who suggested back in 1981 that they should implant the American nuclear codes in the heart of a volunteer. If the President wanted to press the big red button and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people, then first he’d have to take a butcher’s knife and dig it out of the volunteer’s chest himself; so that he realizes what death actually means first-hand, and understands the implications of his actions. Because the President would never press the button if he had to do that.