Sometimes it’s the most parochial, trivial subjects that are the real goat-getters.
And so it is, this week, that I want to talk about dossett boxes. Not the old chestnut about whether we should quadruple our repeat prescription signing workload by providing weekly scripts to offset pharmacy costs, because the answer’s obvious. No. I want to be even more frivolous than that. I want to nail, once and for all, the correct spelling of the word, ‘dosset’.
I do have form in this area. I am obsessed by words, grammar, syntax, punctuation and so on. One of my first ever columns observed that the appropriate way to deal with Essex patients who inexplicably mangle the words ‘Across’ to ‘Acrost’ (as in, ‘I’m getting pains acrost my chest’) is to refuse to treat them until they can be bothered to pronounce their symptoms correctly.
Spelling? In the great scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. Or doset?
And spelling is a source of particular pride, given that I’m one of the few people in the UK who can attempt to spell ‘arrhythmia’ without developing one. But dosett? I’m defeated. And I’m not alone: a recent straw poll of my partners revealed each spell it in a completely different way. Google gives various forms, as do standard dictionaries. So it could be that dossette is actually the hardest word in the medical lexicon to spell, harder even than diarrhoea, abscess and intussusception. And arrhythmia. You could probably say the same about dossete, dosete, dosette and dosett, too.
Feel free to send in your favoured version: we could settle this democratically. Or you could decide that I’m just using this as a distraction to avoid thinking about the real issues of general practice as we know it which, if confronted, might have us all reaching for the entire contents of our own dosssett boxes. Spelling? In the great scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. Or doset?
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield