Liam Farrell: A prescription for catastrophe

A prescription is much more than just a little piece of paper; it has many fathers - some noble: 'This is to show How Much I Care', some less so: 'This consultation is over, finished, finito, now scram.'

A prescription is convenient, the medical equivalent of handy for the buses and close to the shops. And to the experienced eye, a prescription tells a story, like a great novel, implying much more than is simply written on the page, demanding that the reader employ both imagination and intellect. A prescription is something very special, something to be cherished and valued.

But:

‘I lost my f***ing prescription,’ said Joe.

‘I’m sure you don’t need a prescription for that,’ I said. ‘There are more conventional methods; you meet a nice girl, send her flowers, buy her perfume, ask her out, take her to a movie, go dancing, and then, your sturdy yin to her slander yang, who knows what magic the night might bring?’

I was only being partly whimsical; a prescription for sex was probably Joe’s best chance as long as he continues to live with his mammy. After all, if we can prescribe exercise, drugs, diets… though I accept it would present a formidable challenge to our pharmacy colleagues.

Joe simply losing his prescription was a relatively plausible excuse. Joe’s prescriptions seem to be a jinx, a herald of dire calamity for all who dare to approach them.

If a house burns down, Joe’s prescription will be in the midst of the inferno. In a multiple-vehicle motorway pile-up, Joe’s prescription will inexplicably be sitting on the bonnet. If a rabid dog is on the rampage, the first thing consumed by its slavering jaws will be Joe’s prescription.

I must point out that I’ve never actually observed any of these catastrophes myself; it’s what Joe tells me, and is my job to call him a liar, to be the cold and unattractive hand of reality, to be a Man from Porlock on his wild imaginings?

‘No,’ said Joe, uncertain whether I was being serious or not. ‘I actually lost my prescription. Can I have another one?’

If you love something, let it go; if it comes back to you demanding another prescription for antibiotics, you don’t want it.

  • Dr Farrell is a GP from County Armagh. Follow him on Twitter @drlfarrell

Read more from Liam Farrell

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

NHS sign outside a building

PCN contract overhaul defers two-week appointment target until April 2023

NHS England has announced changes to the network contract DES, including deferring...

Coins

NHS sets out priorities for extra GP funding this winter

Integrated care boards could target extra funding for general practice at phone systems,...

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves

Labour promises to double medical school places with tax cut reversal

A Labour government would double medical school places with funding raised from reversing...

What is GP Connect?

GP Connect articles are provided and funded by a selection of GPonline's partners...

Gas meter

BMA and local NHS leaders scramble to support GPs facing rising costs

Spiralling energy costs have forced local NHS leaders to draw up emergency support...

Health and social care secretary and deputy prime minister Therese Coffey

What does the government's 'plan for patients' mean for general practice?

Health and social care secretary Therese Coffey has unveiled the government's new...