No body likes to be a patient. Being a patient places one in an exposing terrifying position which seems that it’s enforced upon yourself. Doctors, however, never want to be a patient. It is similar to what I imagine if you work in a fast food restaurant- when you know what you actually put in the food I’m sure you wouldn't want to eat it yourself. I know as a doctor the ins and out of the investigations, what is involved, but to imagine myself being on the other side genuinely frightens me. The thought of having someone poke my stomach, poke my chest, and insert tubes here and there utterly terrifies me. At times, however, it can be completely embarrassing. Let me give you a time I truly felt embarrassed for my consultant when working in London, who was once the patient.
My consultant at the time was a large chap, built more for as a rugby player, lovingly arrogant, and funny. I was on my weekend on call shift pottering around, dreaming of burgers, when the nurse called me to clerk in a patient. I made my way towards the door to go to A&E when the nurse stopped me and said that this was a VIP patient and this patient had already been brought into the side room. Oh my! I dreamt it might be Johnny Depp, or possibly Kate Winslet. I walked up to the side room door and peeked in. There in the bed, half naked, was my boss, my consultant. My face fell. Am I seeing straight? Or is my consultant taking a bizarre nap in his polkadot underwear, and in a patients bed?
No. My consultant was indeed the patient. However, what one needs to understand when a doctor clerks in a patient for admission, it in fact involves a physical examination. On top of that, the consultant was here with a diagnosis relating to the gastrointestinal tract. This meant I needed to do a…. rectal examination. The horror on my consultants face when I walked through the door was priceless, but nothing to my own. We looked at each other in silence, knowing what was to come, a nervous twitch towards the latex gloves in the corner my finger. Where is a sick Kate Winslet when you need her!