Pictured with retired doctor Tenick Dennison are student doctors Jason Hewitt, left, Amelia Hamblin, Kahurangi Ross-Hoskins, and Victoria Fookes. PHOTO/KEVIN BALL
The warcry used to be “is there a doctor in the house?”.
The answer would have been a definite “yes” at the Masterton Henley Men’s Shed last week.
Two groups of four third-year medical students from Otago medical school were on hand to learn about the benefits, especially to older men, of Men’s Shed membership.
They attended the shed on Wednesday and Thursday, seeing the men at work and hearing of the community projects undertaken by mostly retired men who had found a good reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Local hero Tenick Dennison, 92, a retired general practitioner, lover of native birds, author, and a regular at the Men’s Shed, regaled the students with stories of doctoring in the early days, when GPs made house visits and people were billed according to their means.
The focus was on the patient, not a computer screen, he said.
“There was magic in medicine in those days,” he said.
Shed committee chairman Murray Campbell endorsed the importance of relationships at the shed, quoting suicide expert Barry Taylor, who said of the depressed “send them to a Men’s Shed”.
It’s not just the depressed who benefit.
Involvement in community projects and mixing with men at a similar stage of life is very satisfying, he said.
Visits to the Henley Men’s Shed has become a regular event for doctors of the future, who discover that medicine is not the only answer for their future patients.