As a junior doctor in training, I was told by my senior, “You know, we don’t need any more of you lady doctors.” Now on a daily basis I hear that whispered shriek from the waiting room: “We’re going to see the lady doctor!” Mostly they are under the age of seven, but sometimes over seventy. People between those age groups say it with their eyes.

The gulf between doctors and the general public is unnecessarily wide. There are so many things I can’t say to you when you’re sick and worried and in pain, so I say some of them here. All stories are syntheses of hundreds of patients, no confidentiality breached. Medicine is hilarious, tragic, banal, fascinating and overwhelming, and incredibly beautiful, and I hope you hear compassion under the sass.

Follow me @thatladydoctor or live without my dubious medical repartee.