I am long and thin by the end of the summer… Who am I?

hand

You know the game.

A cryptic clue and an unexpected answer.

It came to me this evening, when I was discussing my role with colleagues.

I am a hospital trained doctor who works in the community and helps older people, although sometimes young ones too. Who am I?

I am a geriatrician.

Although I hate the name.

It always makes the think of paediatrician.

Like we are infantilising the old.

And yes, I can help young ones too, although not too young. You must be an adult for me.

I have a dual qualification, geriatrics and general medicine.

A mouthful.

How easy it would have been had I opted to become a cardiologist or a surgeon, not that those disciplines would have had me.

As a young doctor I always gravitated towards the older ones, those with wrinkles and grey hair, with a story to tell and a complex presentation.

And now, I am stuck, trying to explain who I am.

These days when I call-up a patient to let them know I will be visiting, I usually say, ‘It’s me, Rod, the hospital doctor, your GP has asked me to visit you.’

Or words to that effect.

‘Rod the community physician,’ doesn’t register.

Am I doomed to remain in this grey zone? Trapped like Bilbo Baggins? Time slowed-down, distorted ill-defined graphics and ominous soundtrack.

In the meeting this evening we touched on branding.

Without a clear definition of who I am and what I do, something I can describe in a neat soundbite I’ll be lost. We were talking elevator pitches. I’d need Canary Wharf.

Don’t feel bad for me.

Patients usually get me as soon as I sit down and explain my objectives, ‘I am here to help.’ That is all they want, that is all anyone wants.

Life is hard and the struggle is long.

I am here to help.

Just like that.

I have a grey beard and stop dodgy medicines.

I am a geriatrician.

I am a helper.

I’m Rod.

caravaggio4

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