Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Free Lunch

“Come to the tea room” says my GP, “lunch is supplied today”. So I follow him eagerly, like a student heading for a free lunch, and there it is – a fine spread of sandwiches. There is even a tray of delicate chocolates, and behind that ... oh. A drug rep.

Now this drug rep might be a nice person, and that thought plays across the back of my mind as we sit down and choose our sandwiches. And it is that thought that forces me to look up occasionally, nod and look thoughtful. He seems to appreciate that, even though he can see that I don’t understand the topic, or more importantly, don’t have prescribing rights. In fact, there is only one doctor in the room, and he just looks steadily at his sandwich as the drug rep makes his uncomfortable speech.

The tea room is strangely deserted, for a lunch break; one of the office girls sits chatting with her husband, an intern wanders in partway through, and a nurse fills out some paperwork. And I wonder, is there really no such thing as a free lunch? Is that intensely uncomfortable feeling really bad enough to be considered a “price”? Because I get that feeling every single day, and most of the time, I have to make my own lunch.

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