Plain Tales from the Surgery

A holidaymaker came to see me complaining of a painful eye.

On questioning it became clear that he had suffered before with corneal ulcers. I asked him if they had been herpetic or bacterial, but said he did not know.

I then asked whether the ointment began with an A or a C. There was a long pause and he finally replied: 'I thought ointment began with an O.'

Dr Ian Gibson, Hemsby, Norfolk

A man aged 39 who was six weeks post-MI came to me for his review.

He wanted me to see him and not the cardiology clinic. I asked him how he was getting on. 'Not bad. The consultant said not to have sex for six weeks because of the exercise and angina. But I have.' He had a younger wife and I asked if this was wise.

'Oh yes', he said. 'I lay on my back. She goes on top.' He smiled with satisfaction.

'Any other problems?'

'Only one. The wife is frightened of heights.'

Dr Peter Rowan, Pulham Market, Norfolk

Occasionally patients are disappointed to find the services provided are not quite as they expect.

I was observing a GUM clinic in a local prison when one such unfortunate patient arrived. He had been asked to attend due to an anonymous contact trace from a previous sexual partner.

The patient was asked if he knew what he was there for. He looked surprisingly enthusiastic and said that he had been waiting for this appointment for ages, because his tooth had been playing up and his gums were very sore.

His face fell soon when we explained it wasn't that sort of 'GUM' clinic.

Dr Laura Wilkins, Reading, Berkshire


I recently saw a patient who wanted to know how she could get rid of her gargoyle. I probably looked rather concerned and asked her to show it to me.

Thankfully I was able to reassure her to leave her ganglion well alone.

Dr Maria Ceurstemont, Coventry.

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