Friday, 20 November 2015

Engineered for Health

The ‘Junior’ Doctors have agreed to go on strike over something or other. I‘m Past caring, if I’m honest, I’m planning a spectacular, no-coming-back-from-that heart attack on my sixtieth birthday... or maybe my seventieth, if my knees hold out that long. Given my current track record I reckon I’ll last till then without needing anything more than paracetamol and ibuprofen and after that, fuck it, time to go. But don’t worry, I’ll keep the place nice and tidy and make sure I collapse into a wheelie-bin bag so nobody needs go to any trouble.

There’s a lot to be learned, to be a doctor, but they’re not geniuses; it’s far less stressful, more lucrative and probably more exciting to make your living as a scientist, or a financier, or an engineer. Which reminds me of an engineer friend of mine who tried to register with a GP a few years ago, following a house move. Nightmare, it was; couldn’t register without an appointment, couldn’t get an appointment without being both ill... and registered. Realising that the balance of supply and demand was out of whack he studied a few medical text books then mischievously set up his own surgery in direct competition.

He took out an ad in the local paper which stated that he would charge £50 for a cure, but prepared to put his money where his mouth was, offered to pay back £100 if the cure didn’t work. Naturally the local GP was incensed – all those years at medical school for this upstart quack to come along and trivialise the noble art of the physician. He visited my mate and declared that he had lost his sense of taste. The engineer ostentatiously reached up and took a jar marked ‘Cure All’ and administered three drops onto the doctor’s tongue.

The doc spat out the ‘medicine’ and said "This is not medicine, it's petrol!" to which the engineer replied “Congratulations, you have your taste back. That will be £50, please.” The doctor paid up and hastily left the surgery, vowing to enact revenge and get his money back. A few days later he returned to the surgery claiming he had suffered a loss of memory. The engineer took down the Cure All and began to fill an eye-dropper, at which the doctor shouted “That’s not medicine, it’s petrol!” The engineer looked steadily back and declared “Excellent. You seem to have regained your memory. Fifty pounds, please.”

The doctor left in a fury of embarrassment. How could a mere engineer, a spit and spanner monkey, put one over on him, with his lifetime of medical training? But after a few days he decided to try one more time to recover the £100 he had lost. This time he donned a disguise and shambled into the surgery, bumping into doors and declaring his eyesight had become exceedingly poor. The engineer held his hands open and said, “I’m sorry, I have no medicine for that. Please accept this £100 note.”

The doctor punched the air in triumph and turned to leave, but then he looked more closely at the note. “But wait, this isn’t a £100 note it’s just a fifty!” The engineer smiled and said “But that’s amazing news; your eyesight has returned. That will be Fifty pounds, please.”

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