Plain Tales from the Surgery

Down the tubes

I recently visited an elderly man who was complaining of diarrhoea, malaise and fever. He told me he had had a severe bout of diarrhoea the previous Saturday. When I asked him what had happened to the diarrhoea since then, he looked at me and replied, 'I've no idea, doc. I just flushed it away down the toilet'.
Dr Johanna Lowther, Leeds, West Yorkshire

The eyes have it
I saw a patient with possible genital herpes. I was examining the lesions when one of the vesicles burst and a drop of fluid splashed into my eye without the patient realising it. I immediately left him in a flash and went to the sink to wash my eyes.

Seeing me doing this, the patient commented: 'Is it that bad doc? Is it the worst you have ever seen?' I had a wry smile on my face.

Dr Saurabh Obeja, Watford, Hertfordshire

Pandemonium helpline
I was provided with a much-needed moment of light relief during morning surgery when a patient phoned to say she thought she had swine flu and had phoned the 'pandemonium helpline'. Clearly pandemic is not a word with which she is familiar, but I felt that she had actually described the current situation in a nutshell.

Dr Fiona Underhill, Woodford Green, Essex

Unwrap before use
About 20 years ago, a man came to see me complaining of pain and bleeding on defecation. Thinking that he had haemorrhoids and/or a fissure, I prescribed some appropriate cream and suppositories and asked him to return for a rectal examination in a fortnight when things would be more comfortable. He duly reappeared and I asked him how things had improved.

I was disconcerted when he said that he was 'No better, and that bloody silver paper didn't half hurt!'

Ever since then I have got pitying looks from patients when I explain that they should unwrap the suppositories before use.

Dr Tony Ball, Erdington, Birmingham

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