Saturday, May 21, 2005

A Shaky Hand....

Mark Twain, the smug bastard, once commented "He wrote in a doctor's hand---the hand which from the beginning of time has been so disastrous to the pharmacist and so profitable to the undertaker."

Like many doctors, my handwriting, for which I won plaudits at primary school, seems to get worse every year. I think the rot set in at university, where I soon realised that I was incapable of writing both quickly and neatly. Things got worse as a junior hospital doctor, when the working hours were much worse than the cushy conditions enjoyed by the current generation of young docs. Then you were expected to write copious notes while barely able to stand, or keep your eyes open.

Now that I'm an established practitioner, the paperwork mountain seems to grow bigger every year, despite assurances from various sources that attempts will be made to cut down bureaucracy for GPs. My writing is so bad that sometimes even I have difficulty reading it! Slowing down makes no difference, and I suspect I am now incapable of writing neatly, no matter how hard I try. As far as I am aware, no misreading of my spidery scribble has had fatal consequences for any of my patients, but maybe I shouldn't tempt fate. Twain has an irritating habit of being proved right, after all.

Interestingly, my late father had very neat legible handwriting, and my sister's script is eminently legible. I can't argue that my genes are against me. Maybe I should fight my usual pessimism, and look here!