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Before starting as a general practitioner (GP) principal I had finished off my training with a six month placement in genitourinary medicine. For a convent educated girl this had been rather challenging but by the end of the job I was proud of the matter of fact way I could deal with all manner of embarrassing conditions. When, therefore, in the first weeks of being a GP a slightly nervous man began the consultation with “I think I’ve got warts Doctor, my wife had them first…,”I eased into my GU role without difficulty. “Right, fine”, I said briskly “Just pop behind this curtain and slip your trousers down.” At first I took his hesitation for shyness so I flashed him my most reassuring smile and gestured to the couch. He walked across slowly, sat on the edge and said: “But they’re on my hands, Doctor”. Suffice to say he never came back to see me.
Writing this piece has helped to reframe the experience from a completely excruciating one into one which if not exactly my proudest moment at least demonstrates an ability to see the funny side of misfortune. Pomposity is one of the ever present pitfalls of working as a doctor and sharing stories such as these is a powerful antidote to it.
Opening the word hoard is edited by Gillie Bolton. Items should be sent to her at the address at the end of her editorial.
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