The commonest of problems
- By: Jean Adams
I am half way through my final year rotation in general practice and am sitting in on an afternoon clinic. The GP summarises the next patient's notes for me.
“Okay, this man is 56…. His wife died at home five weeks ago of rectal cancer…. He took early retirement…. We've got him on some dothiepin [an antidepressant] … he seems to be taking it all quite badly.”
As the patient sits down, the doctor asks him what he's been up to over the past week. He sighs and the tears start as he realises that he has been filling his time with nothing, that he has nothing to fill his time with, and that he is drinking more.
“I can't think of anything that's worth doing. Everything's so empty and useless.” He trails off and I start to remember the feelings that I am just starting to put behind me.