Plain tales from the surgery

Family bond
An elderly man came in to see me complaining of a troublesome cough.

He said he was concerned because he had his brother's funeral to attend two days later. He looked truly miserable.

I said I was sorry to hear the sad news.

'Oh it's not that. If it wasn't for this annoying cough ...'

Dr R Bertone, Gloucester.

A gentle touch
A lady in her mid twenties came to see me, concerned about two circular pink lesions placed symmetrically on either side of her upper abdomen.

She said she that they had been there for as long as she could remember.

She was rather surprised when I told her that she had been born with two extra nipples.

She said that she was quite happy with two so I referred her to a local surgeon for their removal.

She came to see the practice nurse a few months later having had surgery and said she was worried about a small area of discolouration near one of the scars.

The nurse asked me for my opinion about the mark.

I was not sure what I was looking at and rather absent mindedly stroked the area with my finger.

'What does that feel like?' I asked.

'That's rather nice' she said grinning.

We decided the surgical removal had not been complete and I referred her back.

But I was relieved the nurse had been present.

Dr Paul Weston Smith, Ilkeston, Derbyshire

Back to square one
Last week a patient came in to see me in the surgery with severe backache.

She told me that because she wanted to look after her back, she had bought an orthopaedic mattress for her bed.

Unfortunately, as she was bending forward to pick up the mattress, she felt her back go.

Ever since, her back has been very painful and she can hardly walk.

So much for preventative measures.

Dr Subhash Bhatt, Glossop

A disappearing act
Many years ago, during the 'winter of discontent', surgeries were interrupted by occasional power cuts.

A young man came in complaining of piles and was put up on the examination couch in the left lateral position - at which point all the lights went out.

'Sorry about this,' I said, 'I'll just go and get a candle.'

When I returned, he had gone - and I haven't seen him since.

Dr Vic Bradbury, Brentwood, Essex.

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