The consultation is over and I stand to escort her out. Through the open door, I notice the waiting row of patients staring drearily at the television. “But I am not done yet,” my patient says plaintively. “I still have questions.”
She’s already extended a 30-minute consult and I’m pushed for time. From her purse, she unfurls a long list. With its different colours, arrows and flags it looks like a complicated transit map.“Should I have my intravenous vitamins on the day of chemo or after it?” I don’t have a chance to answer before she continues: “Can you move my chemo appointment to fit in a colon cleanse? They are really busy, you know. Booked out weeks in advance.” It almost comes across as boasting and I feel mildly irritated.
“And my friend is having magnet therapy,” she continues. “She is nearly cured though the traditional doctors gave up on her.” I have to interrupt her: “Can we discuss this another time? I am afraid there are many patients waiting.” She is unfazed. “I need to feel heard, you know. I want to know about juicing therapy. It sounds so next generation.”
I nudge the door shut with my foot, and sit down. “I have lost patients to all of those treatments,” I tell her quietly. “If you really want my opinion, I’d say avoid them all. Your chemotherapy is going well.”