Thursday 30th July 1992   Morning surgery 10:00

Mrs Ellis came in followed by four children. She glanced at my Dad.
“Don’t worry, doctor. I’ve got a quadruple appointment.”
My Dad nodded but looked worried.
“I wondered if you could see one extra patient, though,” Mrs Ellis continued. “It won’t take more than a minute. It is something very simple.”
“I’ve actually got two things wrong with me, Mum.” 5 year old Samantha spoke very clearly. “I’ve got a terrible headache and I’ve stubbed my toe.”
“I didn’t know you had a headache, Samantha. I just wanted Dr Dennis to look at your toe.”
“I’ve had a terrible headache all morning.” She turned to my Dad. “My toes is only stubbed, Dr Dennis. I did it on Monday. I kicked the door. You can look if you want.” Samantha started taking her shoe off.
“Cameron has still got his cough, doctor.” Mrs Ellis sighed. “He has had it for 7 weeks, now. He gets quite wheezy.”
“I don’t get wheezy, Mum.”
“Yes, you do, Cameron. You get quite out of breath when you run.”
“That’s because he is too fat, doctor,” Samantha said cheerfully.
“Yes, he’s much too fat,” added Sadie. “We’ve told him to lose weight.”
“I don’t think it is just his weight, girls. I am worried about asthma, doctor.”
“I’m not asthmatic, Mum.”
“You had eczema as a baby, Cameron. Eczema and asthma go together.”
“It was me that had eczema, Mum, not Cameron.” Carwyn scratched his arm to prove his point.
“Well, eczema and asthma run in families, Carwyn.” Mrs Ellis looked inquiringly at my Dad.
He nodded obediently.
“Carwyn is still constipated,” Mrs Ellis added. “He won’t take his laxatives which doesn’t help.”
“He gets awful wind,” said Samantha. “It stinks.”
“Sometimes he makes a mess in his pants.” Sadie and Samantha grinned and wrinkled their noses up.
“No, I don’t!”
“Yes you do, Carwyn.”
“I’m afraid he does, doctor, occasionally.”
“You see! We told you, Dr Dennis.”
“Maybe Cameron has hay fever, doctor. He sneezes a lot.”
“That’s just dust, Mum. It’s probably why I’ve got the cough. I’ve never had eczema, I haven’t got hay fever and I don’t want asthma.”
“It’s not about what you want, Cameron. No one wants to be ill. Samantha did not want to hurt her toe.”
“No, I didn’t want to, obviously.” Samantha interrupted. She had finished taking her shoe and sock off. “Here, Dr Dennis. Look, it’s stubbed.”
My Dad nodded in agreement. Samantha’s toe was bruised and swollen.
“Do you want to look at my head? The headache is still there.”
“Dr Dennis hasn’t got time to look at your head today, Samantha.”
“Do you want to look at my tummy, doctor?” Sadie asked. “It hurts and, every time I go for a wee, it stings.”
“She is going an awful lot, doctor.”
“I need to go again now, Mum.”
“No, you don’t, Sadie. You can wait.”
“I can’t wait, Mum. I’ll wet myself.”
“No, you won’t, Sadie. You’ll be fine. I’m getting a lot of backache, doctor,” Mrs Ellis continued. “I get it every night. Maybe, it’s the mattress. We have had it since we were married.”
“My headache’s right here, Mum.” Samantha rubbed her forehead.
“We’ve heard about your headaches, Samantha. Dr Dennis wants to hear about my back, now. I have never really had back problems before. Paracetamol doesn’t help. John thought I should get something stronger. It’s affecting my sleep. The traffic on the main road is very loud as well. The lorries make the house vibrate. Samantha gets up early, usually about 6 o’clock, so I feel quite tired. I sometimes have a nap after lunch while these are all at school. I haven’t told John. He doesn’t notice if I haven’t done all the housework. John’s hearing is awful, doctor.”
“He can hear me, Mum.”
“You’ve got a very loud voice, Samantha. The machinery at work is noisy and I don’t think he wears his ear defenders. I think he needs a hearing test.”
“Dad doesn’t need a hearing test, Mum. Can I put my sock and shoe back on, Dr Dennis?”
My Dad nodded.
“Would stronger laxatives help?” Mrs Ellis turned towards Carwyn.
“I don’t need laxatives, Mum.”
“Yes, you do, Carwyn. You have really smelly poo. That’s because he is constipated, isn’t it, Dr Dennis?”
“He won’t eat any vegetables, doctor, and the only fruit he eats are apples.” Mrs Ellis frowned.
“I eat loads of fruit, doctor,” said Samantha. “Peaches are my favourite but we don’t have those a lot. I eat millions of carrots. That’s why I’m not constipated. I go to the toilet every day.”
“They all eat a lot of fruit, doctor, except Carwyn.”
“I don’t each much fruit, Mum.”
“Yes, you do, Cameron. You’re always eating all the bananas. That’s why there’s never any left for me and Sadie.”
“It’s not fair, Cameron. We really like bananas.”
“We all do, apart from Carwyn. Has Cameron got asthma, Mum?”
“I don’t know, Samantha. I think Dr Dennis will have to listen to his chest. He probably wants to check my back as well.”

A quadruple appointment.