Plain tales from the surgery

Pain in the backside

An elderly woman came to see me and said: 'Can I have my painkillers please?'

I asked which one, to which she replied: 'Commode-soluble tablets.'

A confused silence followed, until after wracking my brains I realised she wanted soluble co-codamol tablets.

Dr Sudhir Sarnobat, Mid Glamorgan


I attended a conference in Northern Ireland and was struck by the number of practices there described not simply as large, small, PMS or GMS, but also as Catholic, Protestant and mixed.

One afternoon while standing in the covers fielding, a colleague who grew up in Northern Ireland told me these were not the only familiar labels attached to practices.

He had grown up in a small market town served by two GPs who both shared my surname - one was known locally as 'green Brown', the other as 'orange Brown'.

Dr Kevin Brown, Bideford, Devon


On reviewing a patient recently, I asked her how things had been going since I referred her to a fertility clinic.

In broken English, she replied that she had 'met four men'.

I was rather taken aback by this unorthodox approach to increasing her chances of becoming pregnant, until she pulled out a box of metformin that she had been prescribed, for her polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Dr Stephen Tomkinson, Manchester


A man, smelling of cigarettes, complained of a 'cough with phlegm'.

'What colour is it?' I asked.

'I'll spit in your sink and you can see for yourself,' he said.

'Thanks, but no,' I replied.

Dr Sheila Edwards, High Peak, Stockport


A patient requested an urgent appointment, but the message relayed by our temporary receptionist read: 'The patient's vivesectomy wound has opened up.'

Is this a new concept in family planning?

Dr Hilary Allen, Bridgwater, Somerset.

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