Dr Zara Aziz: A serious case of delusional parasitosis

I am halfway through afternoon surgery, when David charges in through the door.

'I'm so glad you could see me today, doctor. I knew you'd want to see this,' he says, as he lands a crumpled tissue triumphantly on my desk.

Fresh from my communication skills course and keen not to interrupt, I nod encouragingly.

'Here it is,' he says, opening up the tissue gently, even reverently, and looking at me expectantly.

Surely, this is not some more sputum that is minus its pot? My stomach starts to heave rebelliously. It probably wasn't such a good idea to eat my Pot Noodle so quickly between those two home visits earlier.

I peer down at the offending object and see nothing. I know Docman is making me cross-eyed, but this is ridiculous: I can't be needing reading glasses at my tender age.

'Erm, what are we looking at here?' I ask, my communication skills update a distant memory.

'It's me lice, but you need to look carefully cos it's blond. The other doctor told me I was imagining it all. He said I had delusional something, so here's my proof.' He looks rather pleased.

Delusional parasitosis indeed. 'Have you tried anything over the counter?' I venture.

'It's all homeopathic stuff they sell out there, none of it works. The missus soaked me in it, but the little mites were still around to tell the tale. What do you think about this industrial strength chemical that I can get from Russia, with free shipping and money back guarantee?' he asks.

'Hmm, let me have a think. Maybe try something legal. How about a trip to the barber's and a nit comb?' I suggest enthusiastically.

'Barber's?' He splutters the word as he rather protectively fingers his flowing blond(ish) locks.

That evening, Attila is as usual resisting his cot, and is instead tucked up cosily in his sister's bed with all his teddies.

'Look, Teddy is very tired and wants to go to cot now,' I cajole. 'No cot. Teddy sad,' Attila says, shaking his head vigorously and unearthing a comb from under the duvet.

'Why is Teddy sad?'

'Teddy nits,' he says, combing vigorously.

  • Dr Aziz is a GP partner in north-east Bristol.

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