recently something happened that i must admit i didn't know how to deal with. now it's funny but at the time i just felt awkward.
it was more of a convenience consultation. i suppose you could see it as a favour. one of the sisters knew a patient who would soon be going home to mozambique. she apparently needed slow release estrogen tablets implanted but was not too trusting of the local doctors in her home town. the sister asked me to do it. now generally this is not the task of a surgeon. without sounding too arrogant, we view such trivial procedures as beneath us. but i decided that i would do it as a favour to the sister.
i went to see the patient to find out exactly what it was she wanted me to insert. they were two tiny little pellets. i would have to make a small puncture in the skin, place them and place one stitch. ridiculously simple.
as i read the insert of the product, the patient made small talk.
"have you ever done this before?" she asked.
"no." i answered truthfully.
"don't worry, you'll be ok. i don't mind being a guinnae pig for you to learn." no words came to mind so that is exactly what i said. nothing.
when we got ready to start, again the patient felt the need to encourage me.
"you're going to be just fine. i'm sure you'll do the procedure perfectly." once again i gave an answer of silence. this time it may have been slightly more chilly.
i localized, made a tiny cut, inserted the pills and threw in a stitch.
"see! you did it well!" she told me helpfully. by now my reply was practised.
later i couldn't help wondering what she would do when she got her bill and realised a specialist charges more than her usual gp (even if he had done it many times before and didn't quite need so much encouragement.).