Saturday, 3 July 2010

Dr Under (the weather)

Wow, April 2nd was the last post on this blog!

I've been out of action for a long time, and time has flown.

I was actually sick. I was on the other side of the fence, which is why I haven't been up to posting. I won't go into details of my medical condition, as it potentially makes me identifiable, but suffice to say I had pretty big surgery.

I'm well on my way back to greatness now, though!

It's taken several months to get back to some reasonable level of activity. But I'm almost there. I'm back running and cycling (though not much further than 2.5km in any given day). I'm also back to martial arts training, and I'm slowly getting back into boxing. Mind you, with my current fitness levels, 12 year olds are knocking me black and blue in the ring.

But it's all part of the process, and hopefully I'll be back to normal in a month or 2.

But I have to admit it's odd being on the other side of the doctor-patient relationship. Even allowing for the fact that the doctors I deal with usually give me some special attention (calls on my mobile after their clinic t have a chat about a result that's just come in, the surgeon phoning my parents back in Ireland to let them know everything was going well while he was taking a quick break during the operation), it's still not nice being a patient.

Waiting rooms are inhumane! I once waited 3 hours in the waiting room, while a clinic was running behind. The chairs are tiny, and the receptionists are cranky.

I once popped in on my way to work to leave a urine sample into the clinic for a dipstick. The nurse asked me to wait "a few minutes" while she did the test. So, I waited. And I waited. For an hour and a half! I went looking for her, and she was gone. So I just left. Never did get the result!

But, in fairness, however much we grumble about the health infrastructure, we really are very lucky to be able to get the care that we do. Most of the world's population don't have access to the type of surgery I had, or the support afterwards.

I'd like for this to be a learning experience, which could help me empathise with, and improve conditions for, patients. But, as always, I feel powerless to change anything.

So, the post-script to all this is that I think I have a better understanding of what patients go through. I think I have much more of an appreciation of how lucky we are to have the things we have.

But I don't know what to do with this lesson. All ideas gratefully received.

If there are any readers left, feel free to share your patient experiences in the comments section below.

Dr Thunder.