You Want What?

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.



  1. Hope we get to see you before you go, because we’re actively looking to get out of here soon!

    And, regarding the receptionist at the GP’s office: I just can’t say that I’ve ever EVER found them to be helpful!

    • I’m only in the country for thirteen more days and spending most of them in my Borders attic. This could be tricky. Now, when you say soon, are you likely to still be here in the middle of August?

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