Tales from the Surgery

Crackling response

A young male patient was taking up an inordinate amount of time on our out-of-hours service interrogating me on ways of avoiding swine flu.

I explained that we were set up more as a treatment rather than an advice service.

He said he had tried to ring the swine flu helpline but all he could got was crackling.

Dr Graham Busfield, Reading, Berkshire

Raising an issue
I recently had a patient consult who was experiencing erectile dysfunction. I attributed this to the beta-blocker recently started by his cardiologist.

I advised him that he should bring this up at his next cardiology appointment.

Perhaps I could have phrased that a bit better.

Dr Geraint Roberts, Gwynedd, Wales

Embarrassed, me?
Not everybody is shy about discussing embarrassing symptoms with our staff on the phone.

I was impressed, though, that when an elderly patient phoned in to request something for her 'itchy Volvo'.

The receptionist resisted the temptation to suggest a call to the local garage.

Dr Paul Richardson, Leigh, Lancashire

Language battles
A 65-year old Gujarati lady came to see me one morning.

'Do you speak Gujarati?', she asked me.

'A little' I replied, embarrassed.

I proceeded to tell her that her long-standing knee osteoarthritis could be helped by losing some weight.

I am not sure what the Gujarati phrase is for 'Have you seen the size of your legs ?' Perhaps language skills are something to add to my personal development plan.

On her way out of my surgery room she quipped: 'Next time I come, I expect you to be speaking fluent Gujarati.'

I was tempted to reply that she should try losing some weight before the next time she comes to see me.

Dr Sam Lad, Edgware, London

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