In my job as a GP it is rare to learn that what one does really does change lives.
One of the first patients today hobbled in looking happier than when last seen by me over 4 months ago. “If it wasn’t for you, I would not have a place now”, he said. Struggling to remember I flipped through his chart on my screen. Then it came to me – this guy had been made homeless while in hospital for a broken hip. His landlord had not only given away his room, but also thrown away the tools of his trade worth many hundreds of pounds.
Homeless and with no means to work, he was in a dreadful state four months ago. At that first appointment, he was desparate and despairing. I spent nearly 40 minutes exploring his needs and contacting a couple of organisations. The local homeless charity and the local chaplaincy team. Within a matter of hours he had an emergency loan, accomodation and a few days later furniture and a fridge of his own. In short, he had regained some of his self-esteem.
My last patient today also looked a lot happier. 3 weeks ago he was very depressed suffering a relapse after more than 8 years. He was most upset by his denture problem. As far as he knew, the only solution would cost nearly £2000. An amount that was unaffordable on his income. I was dumbfounded.
This chap left my surgery with a copy of my assessment and encouragement to seek a new NHS dentist who would be compassionate enough to correct the problem paid for by the NHS. Today he tells me the denture problem will be resolved within the next couple of weeks and he does not have to pay a penny. His wife is also happier and so are his work mates.
Two different stories but with similar results. I was not practicing classical medicine for either man. What did happen was delegation and encouragement for both men to approach the right people and organisations armed with correct information. Two lives have been rescued by my work.
It is a lovely to have such a day as this.