These things, of course, always happen on a Sunday.
I was choosing seedlings for the veggie patch, because I don’t like to clean even when I’m nesting, when my phone rang.
Where are you?
Bearhands had cut his foot in the paddock.
When I got home minutes later, I discovered the bathroom covered in blood and him sporting a wound that was beyond my first aid abilities.
Being a Sunday, our options were a half hour drive to the hospital emergency room or the after-hours number of a medical centre in the next town. I had no intentions of spending the day shifting my pregnant self from butt cheek to butt check on an uncomfortable plastic chair in the ER, so I dialled the number.
The GP on call could meet us at the surgery in thirty minutes. I helped my *lame* husband to the car (boys can be such sooks, can’t they?) and drove him to the surgery.
And that was how our GP came into our lives.
Up until then, we’d been healthy young humans who had seen whichever doctor had availability on the day. But we were about to be parents and, as we were to learn, that’s when the visits to the doctor really start!
Since then, our GP has tenderly unwrapped our newborns for their check ups. “You get to do this all the time, Mum!”
Assuaged my new mother worries “that’s not a hernia it’s just her belly button, Amanda.”
Kindly corrected me when I remarked how unlucky my fully-immunised daughters were to contract whooping cough, “this is a mild case, Amanda. They’re LUCKY to have caught this immunised. I’ve seen unvaccinated two-year-olds die from whooping cough.”
Over the years my girls have developed a relationship with him. He’s a reassuring certainty when they’re unwell. And he takes the time to listen to the Big Sister’s latest joke, which earns him big brownie points in the mind of a seven-year-old. It’s a gift that the girls aren’t shy or frightened when they see him. I’m certain they wouldn’t describe their symptoms as clearly if they were.
Our GP has come to know the backstory of our family. He’s guided me through a major health scare, watched my children grow and is now guiding Bearhands and I through the preventative testing that comes with our advancing age. Bearhand’s family has a history of prostate cancer, my Mum has just beaten two different breast cancers. Together we’re working towards our retirement goal: Bearhands and I angering the drivers behind us as we pull our caravan around Australia, 20km/hr below the speed limit.
GPs are specialists in whole body medicine. GPs are expected to know some 22,000 different illnesses, but it’s not his remarkable medical knowledge that makes our GP great. It’s his ability to look a little deeper. Once he’s bandaged the wound, prescribed the treatment and dished out the jellybeans, he turns to me and says “and how are you?”
do you have a great GP?
*The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners provides professional development and sets industry standards for 90% of Australia's GPs (who are spread far and wide across our country).