I often find myself explaining to patients the physiology and anatomy behind t
heir health problems. I used to reach for my old anatomy colouring book* from the shelves in my consulting room but it has been used so often, it stopped finding its way back to the shelf several years ago and instead sits on the floor under my desk. The cover is loose now, from years of use. I use it to show them what’s going on in their body because I find it helps them understand their current health problem, and importantly w
hat we’re going to do about it. Some patients are also treated to one of my priceless draw
ings - these works of art could be worth a fortune one day if only they didn’t find their way into the recycling bin. Drawing has never been one of my strong points, but a simple diagram can explain what’s happening inside them. This week I explained, with drawings, what a hiatus hernia is and the relationship between a hiatus hernia and acid reflux - no mean feat this time, because it was done by holding the drawing up to the tiny screen of my mobile phone. Whether Picasso or any great artist would be proud of me or not, is irrelevant. What’s important is that my patients can see and understand what their problem is. From there we can work out what we’re going to do to help them. *I used the anatomy colouring book as part of my revision for exams when I was training. I never realised it would have another life in my clinic.