The Doctor Is In

Being a two fingered typist plays havoc with the fingers, especially the trigger ones. Weeks of bashing away with my right hand has left me with the beginnings of RSI. For years I have witnessed journalist friends’ arms become so bad with this dreaded occupational hazard they couldn’t pull a tissue from a box without screaming.

It’s time to nip this sucker in the bud and go see the doctor.

Doctors in this neck of the woods are what you might call casual. The first time my very English friend, John, went to see one he was asked to wait in the waiting room until the doctor was ready.

“I’m free now, come on in,” a voice finally announced. John looked around. The only person in sight was a woman with wet hair slicked back, pants rolled up to her knees and her bare feet covered in sand.

The doctor was in.

John, who comes from a long line of very proper English medicos who wouldn’t be seen dead without a suit and tie was delighted.

In keeping with the relaxed visual, doctors insist on being called by their first name. When I called my former doctor, “Doctor Werner,” she glared down at me and declared that her father had been called “Doctor Werner.” She was plain Anne!

To get to my new doctor you have to drive past fields of cows and rolling farmland until you reach a river which you cross to enter a sort of jungle. Further upstream the river has platypus in it and sometimes you are lucky enough to see one. They are quite shy.


The surgery is on stilts and very rustic looking. Any minute you expect Tarzan to emerge and greet you. But it’s just the doctor in a sarong.

“Where shall I tie the dog?” I ask.

“Just bring him in,” he says as if I am some crazy person.

So in we all go and are soon joined by the doctor’s own dog. It is very cosy.

Even more cosy are home visits. I love how the doc here still comes calling. It’s one of the last holdouts of old-time civility and caring.

My mother said that in the old days in Ireland doctors would arrive like visiting royalty in their coats and Top hats. (this was a while ago)

I’m not expecting to see a top – or any other hat – cross my sick-bed threshold here in New South Wales anytime soon. But somehow it is reassuring to see that my GP is wearing shoes. Well flip flops anyway.

2 thoughts on “The Doctor Is In

  1. Ah, the good ole days of doctors’ house calls…Or caring doctors…or doctors who actually looked you in the eye and talked to you about what was bothering you. Here in the U.S. you’re lucky to have them say hello to you when they walk in the room. These days they go straight to their computer and take your history without looking up from the screen. Love the jungle doctor with the dog assistant.


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