Last week, I had a chat with a rather deaf 75-year-old man with COPD. When I asked him about the Medical Research Council (MRC) Dyspnoea scale and which of the five options was most applicable, his unexpectedly frank reply was: 'Well, it ain't number one as I don't have a sex life anymore.'
I asked him what he thought I had said, and he replied: 'Am I troubled by breathlessness when having sex?' (I'd actually asked whether he became breathless 'on strenuous exercise' without, to my knowledge, stressing any words inappropriately.)
I suspect it was on his mind. Either that or I need to work on my diction; or perhaps we need a sixth MRC category?
Dr Jeremy Cohen, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
Patients' requests can be a little inflammatory: I didn't know whether to laugh, phone the MDU or get on to the MoD, when an elderly patient asked for more Molotov cream.
Luckily her last prescription of Movelat had not blown anything off.
Dr Regina Zakani, Watford, Hertfordshire
I love it when somebody's name suits their occupation. As a medical student, I was delighted to find that my dermatology attachment was with a Dr Cream and it also made my day when, going through a patient's old records, I came across a letter from a stoma nurse: Miss B Owles.
It never fails to amuse me that my patients can deliberate over choosing to book their surgical appointments with Mr Pain or with Mr Butcher (neither of whom live up to their names, I hasten to add).
Dr Hilary Khankashi, Verwood, Dorset
'I want my flatulence', demanded an older patient, on entering my consulting room.
Non-plussed, I enquired a little further and discovered that she was actually after her regular medication for constipation.
Struggling to keep a straight face in front of her, I issued the required lactulose.
Dr Eric Pennington, Birmingham, West Midlands
- We pay £25 for each Plain Tale published. Please mark entries 'Plain Tales' and send them to GPletters@haymarket.com with your contact details