Sometimes a special patient brings colour to clinic
Loaded down with four volumes of medical records, I struggled into the clinic room to see the next patient. Beaming from under a bowler hat covered with silver glitter, a plump, dishevelled woman greets me enthusiastically: “Hello, I’m Harriet! Are you my new neurosurgeon?” There is clear fluid dripping from the tip of her nose, and throughout the consultation she continues to wipe the recurrent drops of leaking cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). I listen in increasing despair as she stoically recounts 12 years of neurosurgical management, a litany of operations like a Michelin tour of the central nervous system. Flummoxed, I tell her I will have to seek advice. Afterwards I learn that she has delivered chocolates to all the staff she knows: the receptionist, the typist, the nurse unit manager, the physio and the surgeon who did her last operation.
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