Jeremy Clarke Jeremy Clarke

My clairvoyant GP

A single glance could be all it took to correctly guess a patient’s life history

[Photo: George Marks]

‘Willie or bum?’ I said to Catriona on the motorway. Everything in my recent medical career has been introduced via the former: cameras, cutters, stents. I naturally assumed it would be the same choice of pathways for exploring and snipping off three pieces of my liver. At the wheel, Catriona laughed at my idiocy and explained where my liver was and that there was not a pathway from it to either of those entrances. ‘They’ll go straight in through the side with a needle,’ she said. ‘Ow,’ I said.

While I undressed in front of her, the admissions nurse scanned my written forms. ‘Anglais? I only take cash,’ she said, proudly enunciating her one English phrase. She was stout and very Marseillaise in that she joked with a tough face. I could keep my pants on, she said. I hopped up on the trolley and she pulled up the sheet.

‘Allergies?’ she said. ‘Prosthesis? Gold teeth?’

The sunlit mountains were further glamourised by a sedative that I’d give anything to know the name of

‘Gold teeth?’ I said. ‘Are you hoping to sell my organs too if I die on the operating table?’ She said: ‘I don’t imagine that we’d get very much for ones as rotten as yours. Give me your arm. Now make a fist.’ She inserted a cannula into the vein and attached a small plastic tap and clear tube, deftly anchoring the lot in place with tape. It was expertly done. ‘Professional,’ I said. ‘Beginner’s luck,’ she said.

‘Perhaps you would give me your name,’ I said. ‘I am a theatrical agent and I could get you some part-time stage work as a stand-up comic.’ ‘Are you in the theatre business really?’ she said, interested. ‘No,’ I said.

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