Saturday, February 19, 2022

Police & Thief


I have never fancied myself an actress.

My day-to-day job though extremely busy and interesting, will not make a good action movie. 

Well, unless you count the time I had to duck from a patient throwing a bottle of Vimto at me or slamming the door so hard that the door broke. 

One day however, the opportunity for a lead villain action role nearly came my way. 

I got a random call from someone who identified himself as Police Constable, or Sergeant something.

"Are you Dr...?"


"Please could you give me your current location I need to serve you a letter."

I nearly laughed. As far as I was concerned it was a hoax call from a very novice fraudster. 

I mean, in all the movies I have watched the police find the baddie. They don't call to ask them to identify their location. 

For a split second I considered that they might be calling to present an award of good service to my community. Who was I kidding๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„?

It was a bad line and got cut off. Another evidence of fraud, I thought. 

The next day, I got a call from one of our receptionists at our branch surgery a few minutes drive away. 

Her tone was a harsh whisper with a sense of panic.

"Doctor, Three policemen have just come into the surgery asking for you. I have sent them over, they will be there soon."๐Ÿš”

I made my way to the reception ready to receive them, but more to minimise arousing the curiosity of the other staff and patients in the waiting room. 

Sure enough they arrived within minutes. 

One stood guard at the door whilst the other two approached me. One huge guy and another slightly smaller, tougher looking one. Very "Bad Boys"

I looked at them with intrigue and admiration, walking gallantly in their uniforms complete with stab vests and handcuffs. 

This was the most dangerously exciting thing that had ever happened to me in my life!

I wondered how I could savour the moment. I hadn't thought to bring a syringe with a long needle as a weapon to surrender. Perhaps I could suddenly turn around and start running. Or smash the window and try to jump out of it.  Or dive on the floor and roll between their legs....

"Are you Dr.....?" The huge guy jolted me to reality. 

"Yes, I am."

He then proceeded to read me a summon.

"You have been summoned by her majesty' attend the inquest .....death of.......contempt of court......thousand pound fine.... ..Do you understand?"

"Yes, I do." I said and he handed me a summons letter and a pen to sign something. 

Why was I so calm about it, you may want to know. 

Well, the night before, after the hoax-like call, I got another phonecall from the Coroners court ( The court which investigates unexpected or suspicious deaths) and had been given details about the case. I had reviewed it and was pretty confident that I had no involvement and nothing to answer for. 

I felt obliged to apologise for wasting their time  but they had no idea about the details. Their job was to deliver the summon. 

I looked at reception staff who were pretending to be busy with their work whilst obviously peeping and listening,  to try and get an idea of what crimes kept me busy in my spare time. 

I was hoping for someone to make eye contact so that I could get them to take a photo of me and Starsky and Hutch. No chance.

In the end I got dismissed from the case and never even got to attend court!

That was enough action for me. I'll stick to the other movie genres: Some Historical fiction, some Drama and some Mystery -trying to piece together information from symptoms and investigations to make a diagnosis. 

Thank you very much. 

Death & Taxes

They say the only things we can be certain about in life are death and taxes. Always certain but somehow unexpected when it comes. 

Every now and again my job has me reflecting on these two, mostly the former. 

I find it intriguing how some people are very organised and matter-of-fact about both whilst others find ways to procrastinate or skirt around them until they become inevitable. 

One of the most memorable final moments I have witnessed at work wasn't even my patient. 

I was in my consulting room staring out of the window one afternoon having a housekeeping moment between patients when I noticed a man standing on the edge of the rooftop of a multistorey car park across the road. 

I assumed there was some building work going on and looked closer to see if he had a harness, assuming that there must be some health and safety equipment or barriers to allow him stand so close to the edge.

I looked down to the ground where I noticed a small group of people gathering and looking up at him. Before I could process what I was witnessing, I saw him throw himself down. 

A few of us rushed out of the health centre to the scene. An ambulance arrived in record time but it was too late. 

For a long while, I kept pondering on the incident. It was shocking and upsetting. 

What were his thoughts in those final moments. Confusion? Anger? Frustration? Depression?  Was he now at peace? 

These days I mostly work from a ground floor office overlooking the playground of a preschool nursery. The sights and sound are more pleasant. 

I often try to interprete the look in eyes of the dying. 

At a recent home visit to a dying man in his eighties, I saw Fear. He held my hand and cried telling me how scared he was of dying. I asked if he had a faith as I find that people often draw strength from their faith when all else, despite all medical intelligence, has failed. 

His wife, who had been interrupting the whole conversation, shouted from the corner. "He doesn't believe in all that. He's an athei..."

""SHUT UP!" He shouted back at her with what little strength he had left. Then turning to me, eyes still filled with tears, hands still shaking,  he said. "I am a Christian, I believe in Jesus and the church of England. "

"I hope that you can find some comfort in your faith." I said as I left him and his still bewildered wife shortly after.

In another patient's eyes I saw Courage, which I found particularly chilling as she was just shy of thirty years old, dying from cancer.

"I have to be strong for everyone around me. " She said. "My mum is also in a hospice in her last days. I just don't want to go before her."

In another patient, I saw complete Resignation. 

He was a man in his seventies with a lung condition for which he was predicted six to nine months to live, three years before. 

I saw him late one Friday evening. His whole family had gathered with lit candles and the priest had come to give him the final rites and communion. 

After assessing him, I had to gently break the news to the family that he was not actually dying yet, just badly constipated. I prescribed some laxatives and said I would give him a call the following week. His wife looked at me in horror. 

When I did ring him the following Tuesday, his cheerful wife informed me that he was out helping his brother move house.

I was relieved, and for a while shifted my attention from death to taxes. 

It was late January my tax bill was due. I looked at it again and turned away in annoyance/denial. I had until 23:59 on the 31st to pay it. It will have to wait until 23:45.

(Photo is the view from the window)