“Much better after seeing you, Doctor”BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7323.1223 (Published 24 November 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1223
It had been a busy week—in mid February, and I was single handed while my partner recharged his batteries golfing in Spain. The vague headache began some time during Friday, but, by evening surgery, I felt decidedly feverish and unwell. I reasoned that it was just a reaction to the heavy workload that week and that I would be fine after a night's sleep. I went straight to bed but became increasingly concerned with the aches down the back of my neck and shoulders. By 10 pm, meningitis was the only reasonable diagnosis. I telephoned Tom, a retired colleague who had helped me out with the odd locum work, and asked him for help.
By the time he arrived, I was prepared for admission and feeling very sorry for myself. He sat down on the bed and went through my history. It was remarkable. As I related the events of the day, the pains in my head and neck gradually and miraculously eased. By the time he had examined me, I was perfectly prepared to accept his diagnosis of flu.
Somewhat sheepishly, I reflected on how often I had felt that patients were a little sycophantic in their remarks at the end of a consultation—“Much better having been to see you, Doctor.” I now understand. I'm not sure if a Pentium 200 would have the same effect.