On the face of it a lady comes
Well dressed with a sore throat
But it’s her eyes that I note
Are not quite right, tearful.
She cares for her anorexic niece
Who is once again critically ill.
A sense of helplessness.
She needs to talk.
His face is always jolly
A cat and a cylinder by his side.
Two prongs befriend his nose
Offering him life-saving ‘air’.
Every morning he counts out 32 tablets
Bearing his heart, chest and joint disorders with spirit.
He only has a few months.
Her father suffered from it.
She saw him deteriorate
Sometimes to a stop
His hand rattling
His face drained of vitality.
She recognised the symptoms
Her shaky hand and her walking
Anxiously she goes to speak to her GP.
Thank you so much
Comes a note
From a mother of a 3 year old boy.
A cold that wouldn’t shift and looking for antibiotics
But there were some red dots on his back
And his face moon pale.
He was sent to hospital
Most likely it will be curable.
Her face sparkles
As she hears the little heart beat
She will become a mother soon.
He wants to know
He wants to know now.
Is there any news from his scan
Has the cancer spread further?
I can imagine his face, his phone against his ear.
No, I tell him. It’s all stable.
We will see you next week.
At first his face gave nothing away
One of defiance
‘I am fine but my partner made me come’.
Over time the barriers came down
Revealing an early life of care homes and rejection.
Alcohol had been his medicine.
These are but a few that make up the face of general practice.
Dr Ximena Recabarren is a GP in Edinburgh