Post 65 The Doctor and the Lottery Ticket

Working for the general practitioner’s night call service, I was sitting in our medical centre with Dave Morrison, my regular driver.    It was two in the morning and all was quiet.    We’d already undertaken a couple of visits, neither terribly dramatic, and were waiting to see what else turned up.    If it remained quiet for the next hour or so, I would probably get Dave to drive me home to get some sleep. It was unusual for there to be any calls after three.

Time passes slowly in the wee small hours when you’ve nothing to do, and we generally idled the minutes away chatting about the weather, sport and current affairs.    Inevitably though, there were times when our conversation flagged, and Dave would then fill the silence by embarking on a game he loved to play; the ‘what would you do if’ game.

‘Hey Doc,’ he might ask ‘what would you do if a fellow with a knuckle duster on his fist met you on a dark night and demanded your wallet?  Would you just hand it over?’         Or alternatively; ‘If you were in a restaurant Doc, and the waiter’s flies were undone, would you tell him - or suppose it was a waitress and it was a couple of buttons on her blouse?’

The game of course had endless possibilities, but on this particular occasion he asked, ‘What would you do, Doc. if you found a patient dead on the floor holding a lottery ticket in his hand. The television in the corner is displaying the winning number and it’s that particular ticket?’    We were discussing the problem when the phone rang. It was ambulance control asking us to assist with a cardiac arrest; the paramedic’s vehicle was already on its way.

We entered the cottage where a little old lady pointed up the stairs. I shot up and, assisted by the paramedics, commenced life support on an elderly gentleman who was lying in bed. Dave, having bought all the necessary equipment into the cottage, was standing in the doorway downstairs keeping the old lady occupied.

 Eventually we had to admit defeat and I declared the old man dead.     Leaving the ambulance crew to tidy up the equipment and to make the elderly gentleman respectable, I made my way down the narrow cottage stairs.    I arranged my face into a suitably serious mode, and squeezed past Dave in the doorway.    As I did so, he whispered softly in my ear.

‘Did you get the Ticket, Doc?’

 I almost exploded attempting not to laugh utterly inappropriately, and had to smother the laugh into in a sustained coughing fit.    The old lady was quite concerned and said, ‘My husband gets that trouble with his chest.’

Eventually, when I had managed to calm myself, sadly I had to explain that her husband wouldn't be troubled with his cough anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                       Based on a story by Dr Ian Gibson



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