Thursday 20th February 1992   Morning surgery 10:20

“I’m sorry to bother you, doctor.”
“That’s alright, Mr Jackson.”
“I know that you are a busy man.”
“Yes, I am.”
“Well, as I said to you on the ‘phone, I’ve got this rash under my arm. I will take my shirt off and you can have a look.”
My Dad stood to get a closer look. He peered into Mr Jackson’s armpit. “There’s not much to see.”
“It’s quite itchy.”
“It can’t be all that itchy.”
“It is, honestly.”
“Have you tried anything for it, any cream?”
“No, I haven’t, Dr Desmond. I wanted to see what you thought, first.”

My Dad straightened up. He put his hands on his hips and looked at Mr Jackson. “Four years ago, Mr Jackson, you had bowel cancer.”
“I did, doctor.”
“I’ll admit that we were a little bit late in picking it up in the practice but the treatment seems to have been successful.”
“It does, doctor. I’m very lucky.”
“Ever since then, Mr Jackson, we’ve given you the benefit of the doubt. We have let you pop in at the drop of a hat.”
“You’ve been very good to me, Dr Desmond.”
“We have seen you at a moment’s notice, no questions asked.”
“You have doctor.”
“You had the slightest sore throat back in January. I saw you immediately.”
“You did, doctor.”
“You had a tickly cough in March. Dr Lewis stepped promptly in, then.”
“She did.”
“In May, you felt sick for 2 or 3 days. We saw you twice.”
“I’m very grateful.”
“Today, you have an itchy rash that is barely visible. You haven’t tried anything for it.”
“I know, doctor.” Mr Jackson looked down at his feet.
“I don’t really like saying this, Mr Jackson, but you are pushing your luck. I want you to go to the chemist and by some cream. A combination should do the trick. Ask for an antifungal preparation with hydrocortisone. I think you will find that it will work very well. In fact, if you get any other skin complaint, I want you to try if first first before you think of coming to see me.”

I’m sorry to bother you.
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