Well after three months of tests, probes and worries, my niggling health problems have finally been resolved. The cause of my symptoms, Dr Bodkin gravely announced this morning, is the pills he’s been giving me to cure them. This is a masterstroke, typical of Bodkin’s innovative approach to patient care, and wholly satisfying, for if Bodkin gives you the problem in the first place than it is always within his compass to cure you at any moment he chooses, thus in one coup saving the health service money, giving the patient the immense satisfaction of a swift resolution to a nagging problem and cementing further, if that is possible, Bodkin’s reputation as a master physician. Bodkin is a genius and well worth that hundred and ten thousand pounds a year.
Anyone who has read the leaflet that accompanies medicines will realise, of course, that a common side effect of taking prescription drugs is the severe visitation of the exact problem you’re trying to avoid. Or even worse, and I quote from the nearest one at hand:
“SIDE-EFFECT (VERY RARE) BRAIN LESIONS AND, OCCASIONALLY, DEATH.”
I leave it to you to ponder the efficacy of taking any drug the occasional side effect of which is death, but it certainly seems to work for Dr Bodkin who has a yacht on the Riviera and was the personal physician of the Dowager Empress Maria Federoyva till her recent death of salmonella aged 158.
I am glad to be cured for it relieves me of the burden of being advised in matters of health care by Theosyphillis Neil, a man who has had every organ of his body removed, held at arm’s length, shaken, and put back in again, sometimes upside-down. I encountered Theosyphillis yesterday, at a wine tasting in the Prancing Pensioner. He had just been fitted with a false foot you can pump up yourself and seemed beside himself with pleasure.