The GP stands at the door of his room,
shakes my hand, asks me how I am.
I always smile and say fine, except for…
this niggling problem
or I’m just here for a checkup
or a repeat prescription
He’s a cautious man, gets me tested
just in case: ‘Let’s be sure.’
He sounds me out about an ongoing condition:
if I can live with it
he can live with it.
‘As long as you can do the things
you want to do.’
He knows I’m a worrier.
I don’t feel rushed.
It’s a conversation.
It all seems as it should be.
About this poem
This poem is included in the second edition of Tools of the Trade: Poems for new doctors (Scottish Poetry Library, 2016). The anthology was edited by Kate Hendry; Dr Lesley Morrison, GP; Dr John Gillies, GP and Chair, Royal College of GPs in Scotland (2010-2014); Revd Ali Newell, and Lilias Fraser. A copy of the first edition was given to all graduating doctors in Scotland in 2014 and 2015, and with support from RCGPS and the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland, to all graduating doctors in 2016, 2017 and 2018. We are very grateful for the individual donations which funded the cost of this anthology, and to the Deans of the Scottish medical schools who made it possible to give the books to their graduating students.