Plain Tales from the Surgery


Near the end of a long surgery, I rose to open the door for a lovely 85-year-old lady.

As she neared the door, she uttered those immortal words: 'While I'm here, doctor, I am getting quite concerned about my memory'.

Knowing that to return to our seats would have had the remaining four patients on the list demanding blood, I suggested that she might want to speak to me about this the next time that we saw each other.

'But, what if I forget?' she quite sensibly uttered.

We duly returned to our seats.

Dr Andy Cohen, Bushey, Hertfordshire


A father, obviously not accustomed to being left in charge of the children, brought his toddler into my emergency clinic the other day. The child was miserable and snuffly. I asked Dad if the child had a fever.

He replied: 'He did, but my wife gave him some Calgon.'

Without stopping to think, I replied: 'Well, that will clear his pipes anyway.'

I explained that it it is more usual to treat fevers with Calpol.

Dr Sinead Rogers, Duston, Northampton


'Just one thing, doctor,' the well-endowed farmer's wife said as she paused with her hand on the door, looking at me with large eyes moistening reproachfully.

'Yes, of course,' I said.

'You know when I stood on the scales and you said if I was one kilogram more, I would be a beast, or would have to be labelled as a beast.'

'But ...' I started to say.

'I know there's nothing you can do,' she interrupted, 'when you hold that disc and spin the arrow. But even my husband never labelled me a beast.'

Dr Miles Burrows, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire


I don't know what definition your textbook gives for vertebro-basilar insufficiency, but mine described an elderly lady hanging her washing on the line and passing out as she extended her neck.

However, one of my more mature male patients offered me an alternative description.

'It happens every time I put me head back to look at the top screen in the bookies, or when I'm draining the last drops from the whisky bottle,' he said.

Dr Pat Rowlands, Heywood, Lancashire.

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