Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Schindler's List 1

It is a well known fact that British General Practice affords the patient only 10 minutes to: exchange pleasantries; bemoan the state of the the weather/ the country; communicate their problem; have it dealt with; and vacate the premises. Unfortunately, there is a group of patients who are determined not to play by the rules. They've stored up a whole list of symptoms/ problems, many of which they've had for months, and they would like them all sorted out now because they are going on holiday abroad (usually to places I can't afford to visit) in a few days time.

These patients often turn up late when you are all ready running behind schedule. They enter the consulting, room looking far healthier than I feel, and flop onto the chair saying various dread-inducing statements like: "Well, I don't know where to start!"; "How long have you got doc?" (as if they didn't know); or even "Well I'm afraid I've got a list....". Sometimes they literally do have a written list that they bring out and tick off during the consultation. You might think that was worse than the situation where the patient only has a mental list, but not so---at least with the scribblers you can see when you're getting near the end!

Strangely enough, patients like these also tend to populate the group that get very bad tempered in the waiting room when they are not seen at their appointed time! "I've been here for half an hour!" they mutter, seemingly oblivious to the fact that several patients ahead of them have been playing "the list game".

Mrs Schindler is a list-maker, but more of her in my next post....