Plain Tales from the Surgery

Back to basics

I had a call from an elderly lady worried about her husband's back pain. 'With all this spine flu about, I wondered if it might be that?' she said. I suggested it probably wasn't but it wouldn't be a bad idea for the audiology team to check her hearing aids.Dr Andrew Cohen, Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire

Nil by mouth

I advised a patient, whose random glucose was 10mmol/l, that she should have a fasting glucose test. The following day she rang to say that she was still fasting, but wasn't sure when to have the blood test. The receptionist reassured her 10 hours of fasting would probably suffice.
Dr Alex Meyer, Birmingham

Total recoil
A middle-aged patient with MS came to see me because her mobility was deteriorating. I have a Welsh accent and, as I was finishing examining her, I said: 'I'd better put a call in' (meaning 'to neurology'). She promptly opened her legs saying: 'If you have too, but I don't see how it's needed.' She noticed my confusion, which had swiftly turned to embarrassment, following up with: 'Oh, I thought you said "coil"!'

Dr Nicholas Thomas, Witney, Oxfordshire

Farcical communication
I received a letter from a neurologist telling me a patient had been having 'faecal and colonic' seizures. I guess it was meant to read 'focal and clonic'! Perhaps the neurology secretary was on holiday and a gastroenterology secretary was standing in?

Dr Adam Black, Blackburn

Special effects
An 81-year-old patient, newly diagnosed with hypertension, came in for her review two weeks after I had started her on amlodipine.

Having felt the medication disagreed with her, she had consulted the pill leaflet to look up the side-effects.

In the consultation, she had disliked the tablets so much that she said: 'Doctor Rosa, it looks like I've had every side-effect ... apart from problems getting an erection.'
Dr Rob Rosa, Salisbury

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