It all started with a headache.
A first-thing-in-the-morning headache. Not uncommon for me, after a middle of the night wake up for my toilet training toddler.
I had a big glass of water, some headache medication, and moved on.
As a busy working mum, my morning juggle consists of a 20 minute shower/hair/makeup/dressing/coffee routine. That day, I made a point of not skipping breakfast. But the headache continued. I tried to ignore it and ensured my son’s lunch was packed for preschool, and that the essentials were safely tucked away in his bag. My husband is wonderfully in charge of the morning prep, but there are just some things I like to do before I leave the house.
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Next step was the work commute. Despite the early morning starts, the Sydney traffic rears its ugly head even at 7.30am. Finding a parking spot took longer than expected. By the time I walked in the door at work, I'm stressed, tired, and hangry.
But I cannot let this affect me today. I’m a GP, so my day is divided into 15 minute blocks of other peoples' problems that I try to help with. My headache can wait. I make myself another coffee, put on my mask, and start my workday.
First patient. Cervical screening. That’s funny - her voice sounds pretty soft. I suspect it's the loud traffic outside my consult room window. I close the window, move my chair closer to her, and continue.
Next patient is here for a mental health care plan. She’s a teenage girl presenting with odd symptoms, and she has come with her parents who give me a detailed history. Normally, I’m all ears. But today, my ears seem to be out of action. All of their voices sound muffled. I strain to hear and luckily I catch most of it. I come up with a plan. My job is to remain cool, calm and collected, and I work hard on presenting this facade to them today. I want to instil confidence in my patients.