A former patient approached me on the morning of a golf tournament.
“Hi Doc, how ya been? I miss you.” I looked up from my breakfast. He paused. “Can I pick your brain for a minute? Sorry to bother you but I know you can help, and it’s…a…kind of…a …an emergency.”
It didn’t look like an emergency to me, but maybe because it was too early in the day.
“Sure.” As I stood up, he moved closer to my face and lowered his voice, a close, low talker.
“Look, this is hard for me. I don’t know where ta start, but…uh…uh…I’m havin’ this terribul diarrhea. You’re not gonna believe it.”I thought, “Yes, I’m going to believe it.”
“What’s the problem?”
“My a_ _ is raw. I got a tube of cortisone from my doc and it cost $28. It’s not doin’ a goddam thing.”
“Have you tried Desitin or Balmex? Mothers use it with good results for diaper rashes.”
“You can buy it over the counter, no prescription necessary.”
“No _ _ _ _.”
“That’s what we really want,” I thought, but I knew his diarrhea was chronic. I wrote Balmex on a napkin.
“Yes. Just slather it on. Good luck. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
He approached me the following morning.
I looked up. “Yuh.”
“Doc, I wanna kiss you on the lips.”
“Oh dear, what a way to spoil a breakfast,” I thought. Nothing surprised me anymore.
“Thanks, but not necessary, ha, ha, ha, ha. Why?”
“This is the best my a_ _ has felt in months. That Balmex stuff really works, and it was only a few bucks. I slopped it all over. Why didn’t the other guy tell me that? Boy I really miss you, Doc.”
“Oh, one problem.”
“Uh-oh,” I thought. “Here it comes.”
“You know what. The tube was sittin’ on the counter in the bathroom. It looked like our regular toothpaste, so my wife brushed her teeth with it! She said it was awful.”