O wad some Power the giftie gie usFor some time I've suspected that I look older than I am. Patients are always confusing me with my partner who is over ten years my senior and approaching retirement. At first I put this down to the period of time that usually elapses between seeing the two of us. But on one memorable occasion recently I was buttonholed in the corridor by a patient who wished to continue the conversation he had been having with my partner just a few minutes earlier. Then the other day a patient asked me whether I intend to retire soon. He must have been the sixth person to enquire about that recently, so I asked him why. He looked a bit flustered and said “I didn't know how old you were”. I told him my age (early fifties) and he replied “oh well, in that case you've got years to go yet!”
To see oursels as ithers see us!
So I'm looking old. Then there's the question of my weight. When I got married I was trim with a BMI of 21. When I applied for some insurance nine years ago my BMI had risen to 25. Now it is pushing 28. So, like the geese before Christmas, I am getting fat. But things get even better.
The other day I saw a patient with an unusual personality. He is dis-inhibited, talks a lot and is reluctant to have his views challenged. I was feeling uncomfortable because in the past he has become unhappy when his requests for medication were refused. Suddenly he caught sight of a photograph of my children. “Are they yours?” he asked. I admitted that they were, and he looked more closely at the photograph. “Is your wife Black?” he asked. I agreed that she might be. He was suddenly wreathed in smiles. “I'm so pleased!” he said. “I'm so pleased you're not racist. I mean, you look like someone who might be racist. Don't take it the wrong way.” I agreed that I wouldn't.
But if your GP looks like an old fat racist, it's probably me!
I tell this tale with tongue in cheek because I know that a number of charming people think well of me, including my wife. I'm fond of them too, and so the world goes around.