Post 5 A bizarre 'family planning' consultation

D r Julie Smith was coming to the end of a busy family planning clinic. It had been a long day and she tired. She had discussed the merits of contraceptive pills, caps, condoms, injections, implants and coils so frequently that she feared her disenchantment with the work might become apparent to her patients, or clients as her boss insisted they be called.

In the course of the afternoon she had seen silly girls, sensible girls, worried women, wanton women and even a couple of garrulous grannies. Grannies were getting younger and younger these days, she thought, wondering if the day would come when great grandmothers would also need contraceptive advice.

She looked at her watch. Four forty five. Just one more patient to see and then she could go home and organise the children’s tea. She hoped the road works she had encountered on her way to the clinic would not delay her on the return journey and that her husband had remembered to call at the supermarket on his way home. If he hadn’t he would get a flea in his ear!

She buzzed for her next patient,

Dr Julie, (she was known as Dr Julie to distinguish her from her husband Dr Michael Smith), looked up from her notes as the door opened. A shadow of a woman entered the room and offered her a weary smile. Although slim with a good figure, her eyes were tired, her face was lined, her hair prematurely grey and her hands, with their thick calloused skin, spoke of long hours of hard work. She looked exhausted and without waiting to be asked, sat down with a grateful sigh on the chair at the side of the doctor’s desk.

‘Am I glad to see you doctor?’ It was said as a statement rather than a question. ‘You know, I should have come years ago. Still better late than never, I suppose!’

‘Is it Elsie Williams?’ Dr Julie asked, having glanced at her list of appointments.

‘That’s right, Elsie Williams of Rishworth Road, Bermondsey.’

She looked not a day less than forty though her notes stated she was only 31! 

Dr Julie liked to start the consultation with an open question which allowed her an early insight into the patient’s concerns and expectations.

‘So what can I do for you?’ she asked.

‘I need to stop having any more babies!’ Elsie said frankly.

‘Well that’s what I’m here for,’ Dr Julie replied cheerfully. ‘How many children do you have?’


‘Wow – you have been a busy girl haven’t you! And are they boys or girls?’

‘They’re all boys, and I really need to put a stop to it before I have a complete football team.’

‘Boys are hard work. You really must have your hands full, mustn’t you?’ Dr Julie responded, thinking how busy she was just having two little ones to cope with. ‘And what have you called them all?’


‘And the others?’

‘They’re called Dave as well.’

There was a pause in the conversation while Dr Julie digested this information.

‘But isn’t that a bit confusing for them - all being called by the same name?’

‘Not at all, Doctor.  If they’re arguing or fighting amongst themselves, as boys do, I just shout ‘Dave - stop it’ and the trouble stops. Or if I want to call them in for a meal, I shout ‘Dave - tea’s ready’ and they all come running. It works very well and it’s so simple.’

‘Yes that’s all very well but suppose you just want to call one of them, say because he’s got a dental appointment.

‘Well Doctor, in that case I just call him by his surname!’
My God, Dr Julie thought, this woman doesn’t need contraception,  she needs sterilisation!
Thought of the day
‘If men had to have babies, they would only ever have one each.’
                                         Diana, Princess of Wales.  1961 - 1997

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