|Reg sat back in his chair and stretched, as the last patient of the day left the room. He shuffled her notes together, made a last few checks that he had collected all of the bits of paper, and went out to his secretary's desk. |
"Mrs Barrett will be back next week probably." he said to her. "Try not to give her an end of day appointment if you can. Lovely lady, but if she knows there is no one in the waiting room she will never stop talking!"
She laughed and agreed. It was a small practice, and they tended to get to know the regular patients quite well. Mrs Barrett was one who really only had general aches and pains, most likely age related since she was 87. But her weekly visit to the doctor to grumble about them was about the only thing that made a difference now.
When Reg had first joined the surgery, fresh from the driven, treatment focused atmosphere of the Platz, he had rebelled against this idea. He tried to "cure" everyone that he saw, sending them off for specialist visits all over the place.
His practice partner had waited a few months to see if he would settle, and then taken him aside for a chat.
"Sometimes there just is nothing that can be done, Reg." he said. "You need to accept that some of your patients will be back next week, whatever you do. If you solve one problem, they will come in with a different one."
Reg had found this hard to accept, saying that he ought not to be seeing them if that were the case. His partner shook his head, and tried to get the younger man to understand.
"There's more than one type of medicine Reg" he said. "If seeing you for ten minutes brightens up an otherwise uneventful week, and that person goes out feeling better, who is to say that it is any better or worse than giving them a pill for the pain? Half of these people wouldn't take the medicines anyway. If you can be sure within yourself that you have investigated every possibility, and that you haven't encouraged them to think they need to come in, that is all any of us can do"
Having finished for the day, Reg collect some files that he wanted to study further, and headed out to his boarding house. Dr Fothergill, his practice partner, watched him go with a slight frown at how tired he was looking.
"That lad needs a holiday, or a bit more of a life outside work" he said to their secretary.
She agreed, and told him about the young lady that Reg had been seen with.
"Hasn't been back though," she finished. "Perhaps it wasn't to be"
Dr Fothergill said no more to her, but that evening Reg was suprised to find himself being invited over for a meal and plied with wine and gentle questions.
Reg couldn't give details or names, but to his surprise, just talking about it helped. He slept better that night than he had for some time.
A few weeks later, and many miles away, Margot sat alone watching the world go by, a diagram of the brain lying ignored in front of her.
"If in doubt, tell the patient to calm down, maybe go and have a smoke to relax" came a familiar voice behind her.
"Reg!" she exclaimed. "Where did you come from?"
" Well Margot, when a mummy and a daddy love each other very much they decide to get busy and ..."
She cut him off with a well aimed punch on the arm.
"Idiot! You know what I mean! I thought you couldn't get any time off?"
Reg settled himself down beside her, careful to not sit as close as his instincts wanted to him to do.
"Ah well you see there are very important developments in medicine going on here, I thought it was in the best interests of my patients if I made a trip to improve my knowledge. Luckily my practice partner wanted a weekend away fishing, so he agreed to cover this weekend if I did the next. "
Margot grinned from ear to ear.
"Fantastic. Now how about we head somewhere more private, before another head girl appears to act as gooseberry ? Especially since most of the head girls I know of were actually members of the family!"
They rose and headed off into town, a fully appropriate distance apart, yet drawing nearer all the time as they made their way along the narrow streets.
Author's Chapter Notes:
From now on should be mainly new :-)