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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Dodgy patients with dodgy cars and dodgy questions

I stooped in front of my car. Then I knelt down and had a closer look, carefully adjusting my glasses. With my left hand resting on the bonnet I gave the mark a tentative poke with my finger and confirmed that yes, I had picked up my first stone chip since the re-spray. I was dismayed.

I stooped in front of my car. Then I knelt down and had a closer look, carefully adjusting my glasses. With my left hand resting on the bonnet I gave the mark a tentative poke with my finger and confirmed that yes, I had picked up my first stone chip since the re-spray. I was dismayed.

Later that week I called in a young couple. The woman was the patient. I asked, "What's the story, Morning Glory?" She began to complain bitterly about the persistent rash on her forearms.

I stooped in front of her. Then I knelt down, adjusted my glasses and laid a hand on the desk. Then I crossed my eyes. Then I resorted to the eye of faith. Then I tried a brief foray into reality "You know, I can't really see an awful lot there." This didn't go down well.

Bearing in mind the casual observer's probable response to my stone chip, I retreated and asked, "Well, how did you get on with Dr. X's prescription? I think it was called Placebo HC?" She confessed that she had lost the prescription. Bringing the consultation in under ten minutes wasn't the only reason I fired off another copy; the guy was giving me the creeps.

It was a feeling that I had had since I had called them in. It was the kind of feeling one gets when one can't quite place the name or face. However one is convinced that the last meeting involved a fight, like denying a week's sick leave for unsightly facial hair.

Halfway through the consultation, though, I had him placed: he had tried to sell me a used car. Rather than risk libel I won't go into details. However, I can't resist mentioning his unusual selling technique: he wouldn't let me actually drive the car.

After ten minutes or so of watching him drive about slowly, he said, "So, do you have any questions?" To which I replied "When can I have a go?" "You can't."

Following a pause long enough to convince me he wasn't actually joking or going to change his mind, I said "You can let me out here."

And funny enough, this was not the oddest consultation of that day. A young man strode in, beaming. I instantly recalled that the last time we had met he had initially begun complaining about sinusitis, but then had slipped in a very unusual and very specific question about sex.

Have you heard the old, and many would say not particularly funny, joke about the old man in the confessional? "Bless me father, for I have sinned..." and he goes on to describe sexual escapades with a significantly younger woman. "Well, my son, how long has it been since your last confession?" "Never." "Never?" "No, I'm Jewish. I'm just telling everybody!" ( No offence to Jews, priests, old men or younger women intended).

So, back to the young man. More sinusitis. And then a pregnant pause during which my spider sense was tingling like mad. I wasn't to be disappointed: "Is it possible to have too big a penis?"

I assured him that as long as a ruler covered it (which it just about did) he was unlikely to run into trouble. I then politely declined his offer to examine him as "not strictly medically necessary."

Later that day I found myself turning the consultation over in my mind. I found myself rejecting the idea of sexual impropriety. I think that he was honestly "just telling everybody."

Geoff Tipper

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