Free Advice

Being a doctor has its perks: the glamour of having the D-R in front of your name, the wealth of knowledge at your fingertips and being blessed with the gift of helping, no not helping, saving people.

Blah Blah BLAH!

It is a little more like this:

Never use the title doctor out of work. Mark my words, or you will be the tit on a flight home that has to help someone’s kid that’s choking on a peanut, or assist the person who is crapping out their guts and blocking a toilet.
The “wealth” of knowledge leads to insomnia, as you mull over whether the dull ache in your abdomen is due to mesenteric adenitis at 3am.
And people will use and abuse "your gift". Anyone you meet socially that finds out you are a doctor will start the next sentence with...
“So tell me, I’ve got this strange pain in my big toe. Could it be cancer?”

“Well Bob, I’m here trying to have a drink on an evening that I am actually off, so I don’t give a flying fuck if it’s cancer or not!” I think to myself.

Family members will pump prescriptions out of you like there’s no tomorrow and pethidine addicts will schmooze the pants off you to get their much needed next hit.

Working in a private Emergency Room, means that even the people that can afford to pay will try to get things for free. This is where the “phone consult” comes into play. People will phone the ER and demand to speak to the doctor, hoping to get their problem solved without having to come into the unit or pay. It usually involves a mother whose child has a fever, but sometimes they can be rather amusing.

“Hi, I need to speak to a doctor urgently!” shrieks a middle-aged woman.

“Yes, this is the doctor speaking. What seems to be the problem?” I mentally brace myself for a ten minute conversation of trying to calm someone down.

“Oh it’s my Cassy…she’s…um…got a rash. It’s everywhere!”

“OK, how old is Cassy?” I casually ask.

“Um…4..I think.”

She doesn’t know! Retard!

“What does the rash look like?”

“It’s red and its everywhere!” she screams.

“Please try and stay calm. It’s very difficult to diagnose over the phone without actually seeing the rash, but you’re more than welcome to bring her in if you’re worried.”

“I’m just worried that she’ll give it to my kids.”

“Oh, so Cassy isn’t one of your children?” I am SO confused at this point.

“Well she’s my baby, but she’s actually a bunny,” she answers.

WTF! A bunny? A fluffy, white rabbit? The kind you pull out of a hat? You’ve got to be kidding me!

“I’m sorry, but I only deal with human patients. You’ll have to contact a vet. Bye bye now”





Today was a very frustrating day at work. I had had enough of people bitching and whining about their problems! I wanted to go home, but still had another 4 hours left of my shift. I went to the box to get the next folder. The presenting complaint was “vague abdominal pain”. This is definitely in the top 5 of “Worst Patient Problems”.

I draw the curtain back to find a woman in her thirties lying on the bed. I start going through the history. Do you have:

Vomiting – no

Diarrhoea – no

Nausea – no

Pain when you pass urine – no

Anything besides the abdominal pain – no

I examine her and find nothing!

“Well we need to do some blood tests and test your urine to find out what the cause is of this pain. Can I give you some medication for the pain, while we are running the tests?”

“Actually I just went to the toilet and I’m into homeopathic medicine, so unless it’s organic, I don’t want it.”

“So if the blood tests or urine sample reveal that you have an infection, you won’t take antibiotics?” I try not to raise my voice.

“Oh no! I don’t do antibiotics, never!”

Oh sweet Lord Jesus, help me! So if you had an infection, which could result in your death/demise/end of life, you would say “can I have some herbs?”

“So what exactly do you want me to do?” I ask with clenched teeth.

“I’m in pain and I need something to help take it away.”

“Well if you don’t take anything other than herbal medication, I can’t help you. I believe in medicines that work…” and that aren’t sold by a sangoma, a gypsy in tye-dye clothes, or your local weed supplier.

Now get the fuck out of the Emergency unit!



After watching this phenomenal movie, I ceased to see things in an ordinary manner. I came home and wondered what was really real.

My clothes?

My home?

My boyfriend?

My cat, Piglet?

My job?

There was little time to ponder these thoughts. I had to go to work.
I parked my car in a doctor’s parking space and shuffled to the Emergency Unit’s front door, my feet heavy with dread. God, I hate this place!
On arrival, I always enter through the waiting room so I can see what horrific patients are waiting to be seen. My eyes scan the full lounge and spot a mother and father with two screaming, snot-nosed children, arguing with the receptionist. I put my head down and try to hide my stethoscope behind my bag, as I quickly amble past them. I hope that I might just be lucky enough for the other doctor to see them.
Most of the shifts have two doctors. And hopefully the other doctor isn’t a complete retard or slow worker, otherwise I refer to it as a -1 shift. If you are the unfortunate one who is doing the night shift, your colleague leaves you at 23h00 to face the masses on your own.
Luckily tonight I’m on with a competent doctor, so I don’t need to spend my entire shift mopping up after their mistakes when they leave. I dump my bag in the tearoom and deposit my collection of caffeinated drinks in the fridge.
I head over to “The Box”. The Box is where all the files of waiting patients are kept. It has a short account of what the patient’s problem is and all their vital signs. Now, the dodgy doctors will read the file and if they don’t like the type of patient they either take the next one or put the file back and disappear. Patient’s we don’t like:

Rectal problem.

Anal problem.

Any kind of ano-rectal problem.

Scrotal problem

Vague abdominal pain.

Old patients.


Basically any kind of patient!

I take the first file and approach the cubicle with the closed curtain. As I draw it back, I see the mother + father + 1 snot-nosed, screaming child + 1 snot-nosed vomiting child. I quickly grab for my finger to feel the ring that I always wear.
My totem.
This isn’t real…
or is it?
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