Feet First

“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Thursday, September 09, 2004
    Hands and Feet

    Last week I saw a patient who's been coming in regularly to get some warts frozen. She has two large, stubborn ones on her right hand. That day, she had two other problems: a recent bee sting on the right forearm and a new large ganglion cyst on the right wrist.

    "Why is it all on that hand?" she lamented.

    "Bad hand karma?" I suggested. She liked that idea.

    Then yesterday I saw a patient who came in with the complaint of swelling and pus on a toe. By the time I saw it, he was improving; the abscess had burst the night before. I put him on antibiotics anyway since he has circulation problems. His wife accompanied him on the visit (they are a charming Armenian couple); as I was examining him, he said with a laugh, "My wife put eggplant on it!"

    "Whatever works," I replied. "Was it raw eggplant or hot?"

    She explained that it was cooked, and a teaspoon of sugar added; it sounded like some sort of homemade poultice. It could well have been enough to get the infection to drain. I said that sounded fine.

    His last comment of the visit, with a grin: "Tomorrow we try hamburger!"



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