Plain Tales from the Surgery

Pumped up bug
A patient came to see me complaining that the rash on her legs was spreading up to her thighs. She had seen another GP the previous week, who had mentioned scabies as a possible diagnosis, and given her topical steroid for the itching.

The patient was concerned about the effects of the cream and asked: 'Do you think it has given the bugs stronger muscles so that they could climb up my legs?'

She was relieved when I explained that the steroid cream was not an anabolic steroid and that she didn't have scabies.

Dr Zoe Alexander, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire

Digital advances
Recently I saw a patient who was worried about his waterworks. He told me he had heard of a new 'digital' method of checking the prostate.

He was most disappointed when I showed him the low-tech digit involved in this test.

Dr Roger Donnan, Beverley, East Yorkshire

Optimum treatment
When I was working as a house officer, my neighbour, who had been suffering from piles asked for my help. I was working in the professor's specialist unit, so I offered to take him there and assured him that he would get the best treatment.

The following week he accompanied me to the clinic. Medical teaching often takes place in the professor's unit and so this poor soul had to undergo an examination by several students.

When I returned to the outpatient clinic, my neighbour could not resist expressing his displeasure and said: 'Doctor, I had plenty of fingering, but when does this "best treatment" start?'

Dr Hari Nawal, Bedford, Bedfordshire

Hackney acne
I was surprised by the bemused look a patient once gave me when I diagnosed his facial rash. He looked at me oddly and said: 'So you're telling me I've got ackney spots?'

Later he revealed he thought I had meant he was suffering from a rare disorder only seen in residents of his east end borough of Hackney.

He seemed relieved when I informed him he only had boring old acne.

Dr David Turner, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead

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