Non-verbal communication is something GPs are trained to interpret as a means of identifying the hidden agenda. However, from time to time what a patient does not say is sufficient to send out a message the GP would prefer not to hear.
I refer to a lady in her sixties who came to see me recently. She had been experiencing a sensitive problem and wished to discuss possible treatment options. I noted that she had been to see one of my partners only a few days previously.
‘Yes, doctor. I did see Dr X. However, I felt too embarrassed to ask him about this problem. After all, he is so young,’ the lady said by way of explanation.
Clearly, the unspoken implication was there regarding my own aged appearance. Oh, don’t they know how to hurt! The fact that I am only five years older than Dr X, with a full head of hair compared to his follicularly challenged pate, did nothing for my morale as I studied my reflection in the mirror following my patient’s departure!