Thursday 27th July 1989   Morning surgery 10:13

“They’re flea bites.”
“Flea bites, doctor! They can’t be.” Mrs Vaughan looked quite upset.
“Yes, they are, Mrs Vaughan.”
“It’s not shingles, then?”
“No.”
“You know I’m susceptible to shingles. I’ve had it three times before?”
My dad took a deep breath. “No, you’ve never had shingles, Mrs Vaughan.”
“How can you be sure they’re bites, Dr Dennis?”
“Well . . . you’ve got a cat, haven’t you?”
“Yes, Milly, but she hasn’t got fleas.”
“She has. That’s where the bites have come from.”
“She hasn’t. I’m sure she hasn’t.”
“Let me try to explain, Mrs Vaughan.” My Dad sounded like my chemistry teacher. “Milly rubs herself against you. When she does this, one of the fleas jumps from her back onto your leg.”
Valerie Vaughan shuddered.
“It bites you. Then, it crawls along a bit and bites you again. After four are five bites, it’s had enough blood and off it jumps, into your nice, thick carpet.”
Valerie Vaughan shuddered again.
“That’s why you’ve got four itchy bites, all in a row.”
Valerie Vaughan started scratching her leg.
“Don’t scratch. That will make them worse.”

“What treatment do I need, Doctor?”
“You don’t need any treatment, Mrs Vaughan. It’s Milly that needs treatment.”

Flea bites.