Plain Tales from the Surgery


As a practice nurse for the past 13 years, I thought I had heard every possible excuse for missing appointments. However, the one I heard last week takes some beating.

The patient in question came in for his appointment and I tackled him as to why he hadn't turned up for his two previous diabetic clinic appointments.

He said he had a good reason for not turning up.

'Oh yes?' I asked.

'I was in the nick,' he said.

Enough said.

Judy Watson, Woolston, Southampton


As a young medical student years ago, I was clerking an elderly lady who had been admitted with lower abdominal pain.

I had been taught about taking a family and social history and was doing this as I felt her lower abdomen.

As a nurse helped me fumble and fit an examining glove on, I asked her to roll on to her side, draw her knees up and face the wall. She did and I asked her how her back passage was.

Just as I got the glove on she replied: 'Fine, thanks, doctor. We've just had it carpeted.'

Dr Pete Rowan, Diss, Norfolk


Like many practices, our new patients are given a questionnaire to fill in about their health.

In answer to the question 'give details of any operations', a young mother had written: 'Spinal operation; tonsils; scisserion'.

I do hope the scissors were sharp.

Dr Fran Pullen, Chepstow, Monmouthshire


The little old lady sat down and exclaimed: 'I'm here to have my brain replaced.'

Not realising I had misheard, I tried to stall for time.

'What makes you say that?' I asked lamely.

'Because I have it changed every six months,' she replied.

In desperation I scanned her notes for dementia, psychosis or anything brain related. No clues. VTS hadn't prepared me for this one and I had run out of ideas but she chipped in just in time for me to save face.

'Look, the new one is in my handbag,' she said, pulling out a ring pessary.

Dr Melanie Douglas, Shirley, Southampton.

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