Saturday, 31 January 2015

PFM (Pen for Men).

        Once there was a Fountain Pen, made by the Shaeffer Pen Company given the incredibly politically incorrect title of the "Pen For Men".  Despite the fact that we had a "Lady Patricia" pen  for women which was considered to be an artistic neat little pen, that many admired, the big bulky, PFM was considered by some to be a bit sexist.  
         I have a PFM and it was given to me by a patient.   I used to regard my patients as friends and ask them about their interests and some of them, obviously regarded me as a friend and were interested in my hobbies.   Tom, (let us call him that) said that he would like me to have his PFM as he was interested in horses, not fountain pens.
         Nowadays, any sort of gift from a patient is frowned upon and regarded as some sort of impropriety.  Tom and I had a sort of rapport and when he came to see me it was a different sort of visit than that which took place between a customer and his plumber.   
          One day, Tom's routine checkup revealed some red blood cells in  his urine ( a test that we did routinely in those days but that now is regarded as useless). I repeated it in  a few weeks and it still continued to show some red cells.  I went on to do the further investigations that were appropriate in those days, before ultrasound made many apparently innocuous investigations possible,  and the test, an intravenous pyelogram, showed a suspicious lesion.   
            During one of those visits, when I was following up on what was going on and keeping Tom informed, he smiled and said,
            "Hey, doc, I have something for you!"
            "What, you are giving me one of your horses,?"
             "No," He said, rummaging around his pocket, "this, I want it to have a good home!"  He smiled, cheerfully, and pulled out the PFM.
                " I can't take this," I said.
                " I want you to have it," he said.
                 "Thanks," I said and took it.
                  Tom, died soon after that of metastatic kidney disease.  
                  His wife, who was also a patient of mine, with whom I had always thought I had a good relationship,came to see me, told me I had not diagnosed him quickly enough and she was going to find another doctor!
                  Every time I  pull out that damn pen I think of Tom - and I think he would like that!

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