One of the great things about our work is that rarely a day goes by without learning something new.This knowledge can come from many different sources including patients and colleagues, and is not just related to things medical, but life in general.

Over the years I have discussed numerous non medical topics with patients including holiday destinations (campsites in France),photography tips, cycling apparel and Jeffrey West shoes to name a few.I have no doubt that, on occasions, these discussions have shaped my ( and my patients’ behaviour) in a very conscious manner.

Back when I was a house officer over 20 years ago I still remember the rich pickings of free curry and handouts provided by the drug companies.The Frumil green tourniquet was a thing of beauty, and to have one dangling from your white coat pocket really was a status symbol of the mess, to be used time and again,creating veins from nothing in the dark of the night.Did I unconsciously take on board the subliminal tourniquet message? I don’t remember ever prescribing Frumil, but I do remember sinking back in to bed after another successful venepuncture.


We no longer maintain these relationships with pharmaceuticals of course-slowly over the years we have moved away and rely on our CPD, reading and practice or CCG formularies to help guide our prescribing habits.Health and safety has removed the reusable tourniquet too-I am now forced to bin any old catheters instead of putting them to good use.

Fast forward to a wet and windy day nestling under the South Downs as an 87 year old giant of a man slips in to my room, leaving his tractor in the car park and trailing mud behind.

“How do you stay so fit?” I ask, knowing he still works long days and rises early.

“It’s all about breakfast” he says,”bacon,sausage,eggs and black pudding every day-always leave the fat in the pan and reheat it each day for the best flavour”.

“And your cholesterol ? ”

“Oh-bugger that,I don’t mind if I die young”.

And so I have learnt again, how to cook bacon and die happy.

The secrets of Big Farmer.


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