Within 24 hours of ending my GP rotation, I’ll be off on my senior elective. I am beginning to feel woefully unprepared. But I had a conversation yesterday with a gentleman who has some knowledge of medical electives and the organising thereof and with a gentleman who was heading off on his holidays within the hour and had not yet packed, and the upshot of that conversation was that if I rememember to take cash, clean underwear, vaccine certifications, malaria prophylaxis, HIV PEP, my stethoscope and my passport, I will probably be all right. Even if I manage to forget everything else, which is highly unlikely, there are very few other things that I cannot live without and that cannot be purchased in one form or another. I know all of this, but I think I’m thrown by the idea of not really being at home in the few days before I leave.
So, I was calmed down by that and it prompted me to think today that I really ought to do something about malaria prophylaxis. I hadn’t been organised enough to get it sorted out before I went off to the Borders and I haven’t been living in the same city as my GP, certainly not during office hours, for the last few weeks. One of the things I have learned from my GP rotation is that it is possible, in appropriate circumstances, to get a prescription issued without an appointment. That was Plan A.
(Plan B, if this failed, was to ask my supervisor if I could register as a temporary resident of my temporary town and then get a prescription from him, but that seemed like a wee bit of an ethically grey area.)
The following is an entirely true account of the conversation that I had with my GP receptionist:
Me: I’m going away in a few weeks and I need malaria prophylaxis. Can I sort that out over the phone or will I have to come in?
Receptionist: Have you been recommended that by the chemist?
Me: Er, I’ll be in Tanzania and they have mosquitoes.
Receptionist: Yes, but have you been recommended it by the chemist?
Me: I think by the Travel Clinic.
Receptionist: OK, let me check.
Phone: *plays terrible muzak*
Receptionist: Yes, that’s fine. I just have to write this down. So, the name of the tablet was malaria pro —
Me: Ah. No. No.
Receptionist: You said it was called malaria prophylaxis?
Me: Wait. No, prophylaxis is just a WORD!
In the end, I did get a script for doxycycline and so will not be faced with befuddled looks from my local pharmacist when I go in to fill it. It’s one more thing off the to-do list.