The Official Website  for Carol Margaret Tetlow

October 1st

Some consultations go brilliantly, some well, some in a more mediocre way, sometimes you think you could have done better and inevitably some are disastrous.

Enter mother and daughter, their body language screaming that they are on a mission and know what they want. Very well to do, they have beautiful clothes, perfect make-up, chic hairdos. I have never met them before but spot from the computer that they have an exclusive address.

The mother speaks on behalf of her daughter, who is in her early 20s. They have come straight from their private gynaecologist during which appointment, the daughter complained about not being able to lose weight. He has suggested that there is a new drug that the GP can prescribe. They want it.

I look at the daughter. She's gorgeous, slim, a figure so many would be envious of. Not stick thin or size 0 but simply lovely.

I know the drug they want (and have little faith in it anyway). I also know that there are strict guidelines about who to prescribe it to and one of these is that patients must have a BMI above a certain figure.

Needless to say, she doesn't come close.

I explain but it's not good enough. After all, a consultant has said she can have it and consultants trump lowly GPs any day or night.

I am given evil looks but there's nothing I can do about it.

I talk about exercise for toning up, healthy diets. I reassure but a brick wall has been created between us and they leave, the hairs on the backs of their necks bristling at my perceived stubborn-ness.

I don't feel happy, It doesn't sit easy with me as my nature is to help. I also like to be liked. Naive but true.

After a restless night, I write to them, apologising for our dysfunctional consultation and offering to see them again, for longer time to discuss the daughter's issues again and try to come up with solutions.

To my surprise, they take me up on my offer. I've rehearsed what I'm going to say. As they come into the room, it's obvious that they have too as the temperature drops several degrees and their body language is no more friendly than last time.

An equally disastrous consultation follows. I'm not going to back track and neither are they. They leave, probably disgusted, going back to the gynaecologist to 'sort things out'.

I feel slightly better because at least I tried. But - you can't win them all.

And yes, I had a very apologetic letter from the gynaecologist, acknowledging his mistake with recommending the drug. But I still didn't feel much better.

And no, they never came back to see me..…

October 3rd.

A quick feel good story for the weekend.

I was called out to see a young man in his 20s with excruciating low back pain. Along with his name and address came instructions to ignore the dog, which would bark and growl but apparently was as 'soft as butter.' Cue several partners taking a step backwards and leaving the call for the animal lover - ie me.

As I approached the door, the dog began to bark, growl, snarl and I could see its teeth glinting through the hazy glass on the front door. A voice invited me to come in. With a big intake of breath and my bag in front of me (think well positioned shield) in I went and true to form, the dog went all wriggly and licked me all over, inbetween bursts of snarling.

His owner was in the foetal position on the floor, pole-axed by lower back spasm. As I sat on the floor beside him, to ask all the usual questions, the dog sat beside me, listening intently.

Examining the patient was proving difficult. Not because of the dog, who was still sitting watching but because of the pain preventing movement.

'Is there any way you could possibly lie on your back?' I asked.

The dog promptly rolled over onto his back and lay there smiling.

The patient however did not (correction, could not).

Remarkable how empathic these amimals are..... Don't see my dogs doing the same (see Hector and Rufus

October 5th

5 October ·

Dear Doc Britton,

I think I owe you a bit of an apology, and one to Mr Wansian as well. I hope his bruised nose improves quickly and if he lets me know how much the bill for his camera is, then I'll settle up with him.

In truth, I was upset when I saw his photos pasted on your website, a province I have foolishly thought of as my own. I acknowledge that I should not have waited for him down the ginnel between the pub and Sleepy Nights B&B, dressed in black.

Mrs Wottle says I have been watching too much TV - she could be right.

Perhaps we could discuss my mood swings when I come to see you tomorrow- usual time, usual place.

Enclosing a photo of an egret because my note this week is full of r-egret. I told Mrs W this and how we laughed.

Yours patiently (though some would argue I'm not very patient in view of recent events)

W Wottle Esq

October 9th

Not an animal in sight today.....

Bella was well known to everyone at the practice, docs, receptionists, nurses alike. She was a victim of that awful, debilitating disease, chronic anxiety and her thick wads of notes showed a chequered history of psychiatric involvement, in patient stays and support, the result being that she was able -just- to live at home with her husband who was always out.

When she rang the surgery, which she was capable of doing several times a DAY, she would just say 'it's Bella, I'm anxious, I can't cope. Can a doctor come out and see me?'

She had no home phone but the local council had been thoughtful enough to put a public phone box right outside her front door.

The receptionists then developed a system for dealing with her first phone call. They first sympathised, told her to sit down and make a cup of tea and ring back if she wasn't any better. This was a fairly fool-proof method of keeping her happy and everyone was pleased. She hardly ever rang back. They patted each other on the back and none of them dreaded her calls any more because they know what to do.

Then one day she rang, asking for a visit and before the receptionists could speak, she added, 'I've had a cup of tea and I've sat down but I'm still anxious and want the doctor.'


October 11th .

Dear Doc Britton,

Thank you for not putting me off your list after my little 'bit of a do' with Mr Wasnian. We have shared a couple of pints at the local pub and harmonious relations are restored, though I still think my photos are better than his.

Coming to see you on Tuesday as per and would like to have a chat about the bald patch on my head. Do you think I've been wearing my cap too much? I can't think it's just being bald as I'm only 74 and a half.

There's a couple of other things I want ( or rather Mrs Wottle wants me) to discuss but I must tell you what happened the other day.

An old school friend of Mrs Wottle's has joined the Knit and Knatter group. She used to be Edna Jones but now she's Edna Kirton.

I instantly said to Mrs Wottle -'you'd better tell her to pull herself together then!'

How we laughed.

See you Tuesday. Could you have a look in my ears and check the old prostate? Thanks a million.

Yours patiently

W Wottle Esq

Chairman of the Lambdale Photography Club

October 13th,

Message to patients from Elliott Douglas, practice manager....

It is is the practice's intention not to get involved with the feud between Messrs Wottle and Wasnian, though needless to say both have been offered anger management counselling.

However, we felt we had to share this amazing photograph by Mr Wasnian of a field of donkeys. Look carefully - it is stunning!

October 15th .

Today, the author gave her second talk, entitled 'From GP to Author'.

This time the audience were the ladies and gentlemen of the North Duffield group and what a splendid roomful they were! Welcoming, appreciative and receptive, plus a wicked sense of humour.

Luckily today, the author was not expected to eat a delicate three course lunch but she was refreshed post-talk with a cup of Yorkshire tea and some biscuits (it was noted that she took the chocolate one).

The group is quite small (size is no criterion) and thirty members were present and thirteen bought copies of Out of Practice or Faith, Hope and Clarity afterwards. £3 from each sale is going to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance charity, so they will benefit too.

Next month will see the next talk - this time to a group of eighty or more AND a two course lunch beforehand.

The author welcomes advice on how to keep trim with all these meals and snacks ( oh hang on, that'll be the tennis).

The photo isn't brilliant but the official photographer (Mr Wottle) had forgotten some vital bit for the camera!

October 21st .

I was on call and had been feeling non-specifically off colour all day. Not bad enough to try to swap my night and I presumed that it was just one of those days. I was looking after a parrot for a friend who was on holiday, a rather vicious parrot who had bitten me on more than one occasion. I had, to be the safe side, like all good doctors, read up on psittacosis, a disease transmitted by birds as by coincidence there was a report in that day's paper about a case. I decided, of course, that I probably had psittacosis as well.

The evening was fairly quiet, which was a good thing as, whatever it was that I was in the grips of was getting worse and producing the most unpleasant gastro-intestinal symptoms, with increasing frequent trips to the bathroom.

But then, just after I'd settled down in bed, I was called to a hotel, to see a guest with chest pain. Now in those days, the GP went out to these. Now, you'd just tell them to ring an ambulance. I set off feeling dreadful. I propped myself up at the reception desk, trying to look cheery and was told which room to go to.

I knew that I had to find a bathroom first. What was already bad was getting worse.

I arrived at the patient's bed side. He was ill. Sweaty, pale, in pain.

This was cardiac pain, no doubt about it.

Somehow, I rang for an ambulance and did all the things required of me. A brief glimpse of myself in the mirror showed me that I looked about as ill as my patient.

Thank goodness the ambulance arrived quickly. The ambulance men (remember no paramedics) looked at the patient and looked at me and asked who was going to hospital!

Fortunately they took the right one and I crawled home, rang round all my partners until I found one who took pity on me and covered for me for what was left of the night.

And no, I didn't have psittacosis, even though the parrot kept on biting me for the rest of its stay.

October 22nd .

Mr Wottle’s photo of the town as the leaves begin to turn.

October 28th .

Extract from a North Yorkshire newspaper....

As Halloween approaches, the small market town of Lambdale is busy with its preparations. An event not to be missed, Saturday will see the biggest carved pumpkin competition for miles around and funnily enough, the best pumpkin chutney and pumpkin pie competition also. How's that for coincidence?

Spooky treats are to be had to satisfy the most ghoulish of appetites at the delicatessen, Delicious, where their famous cakes (coffee is my particular favourite) will be decorated with the most delicate of cobwebs made from a secret, but edible recipe. Cupcakes with fondant skulls on top or licquorice witches' hats are also available. Those wishing to do so, can request green or red food colouring in their drinks for maximum gruesome effect.

As for fancy dress, look no further than Mumbo Jumbo, the shop that seems to have everything for all occasions at very reasonable prices.

We are grateful to one of the local photographers, a Mr Will Wottle for his photos, which he assures us are not modelled on anyone in particular and that includes Mrs Wottle.

There will be a hot buffet to follow the Halloween Quiz night in the town hall. The Teviotdale Medical centre are entering a team. Why not get up a team of your own (up to six members) and join in?

October 30th

I've always loved obstetrics. There's something very special about being there at the arrival of new life into the world but also something very scary. I was lucky enough to progress far enough to perform Caesarian sections (there is a video of me doing one, taken by the husband -for obvious reasons - and doubtless by now gathering dust on a shelf somewhere), which were especially thrilling.

But nothing could have prepared me for my first forceps delivery. I was working in A&E and hadn't actually done any post-grad obstetrics but was planning to do so next job.

It was a dark and stormy night. Actually it wasn't but this just adds atmosphere.

A couple came in with sheepish expressions on their faces. She didn't look the least bit pregnant, as far as my untrained eye could see. A curious bedrom activity had resulted in a Victoria (note how I take an exceptionally accurate history) plum having got lodged in the female half of the partnership's vagina. After many attempts to remove it, they had had to admit defeat and come to the professionals.

It wasn't as easy as it looked. The patient was consumed with embarassment and lying with a sheet over her head, the nurse assisting me was trying hard not to laugh and I was fumbling around trying to get hold of this plum which, every time I thought I had, shot further inside and out of reach.

There was nothing else for it but to request a pair of obstetric forceps (for the non-medical, think salad servers) and roll my sleeves up.

An uneventful delivery followed and a very relieved patient sat up, said thank you and ............................................asked if she could have the plum back to take home.

The mind boggles..