I visited my doctor the other day. Regular readers will be aware that my visits to the medical centre are not infrequent; there’s usually something wrong with me, or so it seems before the doc allays my concerns.
However, the other day I really was in a lot of trouble although you wouldn’t have thought so had you seen my GP’s face as I entered the consulting room. As I sat down he sighed as a preamble to asking the usual questions, already mentally prepared with his answer “There’s nothing wrong with you that a nice bowl of chicken soup won’t solve.”.
“What’s the problem today, Mr J?” he groaned.
“Well, let’s see now. Stomach pains, lack of sleep, headaches, and general malais might be the best way to describe the problem,” I replied forcefully.
“Then let’s deal with the stomach pains first. Tell me about your eating patterns and the foods you’ve consumed recently.”
“Well, yes,” I began, thinking back over my diet of the previous few days. I was determined not to allow myself to be put off by his disinterest. As any fool will tell you, doctors know more than most about illnesses and less than any about being ill. “I’ve been eating well as it happens. Fruit, natural sweeteners, that sort of thing”.
“Can you be more specific?”
“Well, let’s see now. Apples. I’ve eaten a lot of apples, figs, dates and pomegranates. And honey. gallons of honey. And honey cake. Enormous quantities of honey cake if I’m honest. But not so much of the unhealthy stuff. I haven’t touched a piece of cheesecake in months”.
“I see” said the quack with barely disguised faux concern. “Can you tell me precisely all the places you’ve eaten in recent weeks please?”
Suddenly my irritation was replaced by fear and the doctor’s position as a man of wisdom was restored. “It’s serious isn’t it Doctor? It’s food poisoning. There’s been an outbreak and you need to identify the source.”
“No need to panic Mr J, not just yet. I just need you to tell me, to the best of your recollection where you’ve eaten.”
“Where I’ve eaten? Are you joking? I’ve eaten in more houses over recent weeks than you’ve had hot meals! Come to think, I’ve eaten in more houses recently than I’ve had hot meals. Cake and fruit I’ve had plenty of, but hot meals? Hardly any.”
“Alright then, what else can you tell me?”
Well, about two weeks ago we had one enormous meal and then I didn’t eat for a whole day. That’s when I got the headache. Still, that disappeared once I did eat again. Another enormous meal with gallons of tea it was. That’s when I came over nauseas. It really put my constitution out of click. I didn’t know what day it was.”
“I think I know what day it was,” the doctor replied sardonically. “Carry on.”
I cast my mind back again. “Various meals, of varying quality, in people’s gardens in spite of the inclement weather. I know what you are going to say: you should have stayed inside where it’s warm. Believe me, I would have done, but they insisted on eating al freddo.”
“Don’t you mean al fresco?” The doctor asked.
“Not in the middle of October, I don’t” was my swift retort.
Finally the doctor looked me in the eye and said “I think we both know what this is all about. Why are you wasting my time? Don’t you know that life as a GP is busy enough as it is?”
“I’m sorry Doctor”, I replied, “but who else can I complain to?”
“Well surely your rabbi would be better than me?”
“My rabbi? Are you kidding? His suggestion would be to check my mezuzahs and drink chicken soup. At least if I come here I don’t have to get my mezuzahs checked.”
“True enough” he admitted. “Drink chicken soup until you feel better.”
“Thank you Doctor” I said, making my way out of the consulting room.
“Oh and one other thing,” he called after me.
“Get your mezuzahs checked before you book another appointment with me please.”