Thursday, 15 October 2009

First Question

One of the best perks of being a GP is having the opportunity to meet a huge assortment of different people. It's not so much the variety in race, religion and culture that I find interesting, but the contrasts that you encounter in the way in which we all think, behave and express ourselves.

So this is 'amateur anthropology with a medical slant' part one, and the question that I have been mulling over this week is this; why do we lie to doctors?

There's a particular incident on my mind. I met Jim (a fictional name of course) for the first time on Monday. We were talking about his newly diagnosed Diabetes when the question of smoking came up. Happily, Jim doesn't smoke, and we both cheerfully agreed that this was great news. He did however look slightly awkward when I met him outside a cafe later that morning, drawing deeply on a cigarette! I don't suppose it was his first.

I wonder if there is anyone who hasn't done this? Who hasn't used the words 'occasional alcohol' and 'social smoker' to explain away a 20-a-day habit washed down with a couple of bottles of wine and a packet of pork scratchings?

Is it through shame of a bad habit or a desire to make a good impression? Perhaps there are some who just don't want the information recorded and others who are simply trying to avoid the lecture (I'll admit my 'smoking is bad for you' lecture is particularly unexciting). Maybe it's based on an element of denial and invincibility; 'I'll give up that morning bottle of Vodka soon, so the doctor doesn't really need to know about that'.

I wonder....

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