I went to see my doctor today – something I do not do very often and nearly always at her request.
I am lucky that other than my bloody knee (see previous moany/rants blog posts for details) I am in pretty good health. I generally go to my doctor when she wants to run routine blood tests once a year or I need a prescription renewed. I am on medication for high blood pressure but am still to be fully convinced that I really have high blood pressure. Every time I visit her, though I record very high levels and one of the reasons I believe that happens is terribly sad and the reason I did not move GPs when I moved house.
I had gone for an appointment a few years ago and as I checked in with the receptionist, she handed me a small piece of paper. The typed message on it explained that my doctor – a woman at least ten years my junior had suffered an awful tragedy. Her young son, a perfectly healthy boy in his teens had been taken very ill with no warning and had died of a highly aggressive and undiagnosed brain tumour. Nothing could have been done. One minute he was fine, the next collapsed and unresponsive. She was grateful for support but did not want to talk about it.
I was a mess when I walked into the consulting room. I wanted to be as normal as possible but my heart was pounding at the news. I can not begin to imagine how awful it would be to lose a child under any circumstances, but to add the awful irony of being a doctor and not being able to do a thing to help was horrific.
My blood pressure that day was through the roof.
I have never spoken to her about her son, because I do not know her personally and I would imagine there would have been plenty of times for her when it would have been difficult enough getting through the days, without someone breaking through the fragile fourth wall of Dr-patient relationship. The only thing I have done is to stay with her at the practice, rather than transferring to someone who is closer to my new home. I felt like moving away from her would have been like letting her down.
I was going in today for some routine tests and also to enquire about a whooping cough vaccine booster. My brother had let me know that now it is recommended that adults who are going to be in close contact with a newborn baby should consider having the vaccination. A year ago I would have thought him bonkers, that whooping cough was a thing of the past but actually a woman in our office was making a hell of a racket for a while last year and it turned out she was recovering from the disease.
So I thought I would check WA guidelines. I asked about the booster shot, expecting to be looked at like a lunatic form the 13th century.
‘You have a baby visiting do you?’ Said my Dr.
Clearly quite the latest trend, then.
So I went in and got the shot and as I went to reception to pay the bill I handed over the slip from the nurse.
‘Oh!’ She said, ‘Whooping cough. You have a baby visiting you do you?’
I wish my Doctor and her daughter well in their new lives, heading back to the state where she came from a decade or so ago. It must be bitter sweet, leaving a home where she has endured so much pain, but where she had the last memories of her son.
There are some things that no one can control, but for my part, I am now boosted up and at least have done my small part to lower the risk of giving my little nephew nothing extra on top of his presents at Xmas.