Thursday 2nd November 1989   Morning coffee break 12.00

“Dennis, I have just realised something. How long have I been working here in the practice?”
I sighed. “You keep asking me that, Dad. It’s thirty years.”
“Yes I have and, since then, I have seen hundreds of patients with arthritis of the hip.”
“Yes, Dad.”
“In all those patients, I have done the same thing. I have waited until it is exactly the right time for them to have a hip replacement, exactly the right time. Then, not a moment too soon, I send them to see the hip surgeon.”
“Yes, Dad.”
“I have never sent a patient a day too early and I have never sent a patient a day too late. For twenty nine years, that has worked perfectly well.”
“Yes, Dad.”
“This year, I have sent 12 patients to see the hip surgeons. Each time, the consultant has said; Oh! Your hip’s not quite ready to replace yet. Let’s see you again in six months. This, in itself, is slightly surprising. To cap it all, when they go back to the clinic in six months, their hips are perfectly ready to be replaced and they’re put on the waiting lists for their operations.”
“Yes, Dad.”
“So suddenly and strangely, Dennis, I have been sending everyone that needs a hip replacement exactly six months too early. It has been puzzling me a great deal.”
“Yes, Dad.”

 

A new trick.