Saturday, 17 March 2007


I am keen on poetry, and was very pleased when a patient gave me a slim volume of his daughter's verse a few years ago. Browsing through the poems, I suddenly came across myself.

Some time before I had ordered a chest X-ray for the poet's father, which had shown an abnormality suspicious of cancer. I had discussed the findings with him and referred him to the hospital. I now found this encounter included within a poem - an unusual form of feedback on a consultation. To be honest, I didn't find the description flattering - I sounded rather keen to get off home and leave him to muse upon his fate. But fortunately it hasn't spoiled my relationship with either my patient or his poetic daughter.

Last night I was leafing through the latest results when I saw another chest X-ray report on my patient. Again it shows a suspicious abnormality. It's probably the same one, but I must ring the hospital on Monday to ask them to compare it with the older films. I shall have to be careful at our next meeting, lest Calliope (the muse of poetry) bite me on the bum again.

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