Liam Farrell: That's what I call a classic love story

There is more to a surgery than bricks and mortar, more to a doctor's office than just a desk and an examination couch.

It's a place of comfort, of caring, a place where you will always be listened to, where someone will always try to make you feel better.

Stand outside the health centre for a moment, and if you scrunch up your eyes a little and use your imagination, you can almost picture it as a medieval castle, a sanctuary defending your people against plagues and evils; a symbol that the world can be kind and not just a pasture of savage beasts where the poor and vulnerable are afflicted by monsters rising from all sides to smite them.

And for our part, it feels good to be needed, no matter how humble the service we provide. We stand between the candle and the darkness, and though we fight the long defeat, maybe today will bring a small victory.

We always have options, although those options may really suck, and what's right is not always the same as what's necessary. What may seem trivial to the uninformed may have deeper, life-changing significance. As Patrick Kavanagh observed: 'Till Homer's ghost came whispering to my mind/He said: I made The Iliad from such/A local row. Gods make their own importance.'

Joe had sweaty armpits; trivial, it may seem, but on further questioning, his real concern was that he felt it was inhibiting his ability to build meaningful relationships. So the consultation was not really about sweat, but rather how to hurl Joe headlong into the fleshpots of promiscuity.

I then found out that Joe loved country music and, fatally, had a Garth Brooks poster over his bed. We discussed personal hygiene, then I suggested he should download some James Brown and gave him some general advice on being cool, stuff that I have learned from the University of Life.

Boy meets girl, boy sweats buckets, boy loses girl, boy goes to doc, boy gets soul, boy gets girl. They make such a fuss of the Montagues and Capulets, but that's what I call a classic love story.

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

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