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Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Difficult Christmas


A woman began vomiting the morning after Christmas dinner.

People blame upset stomachs on their last meal, but mostly these are viral infections. Although miserable, they rarely last long. Doctors enjoy short-lived illnesses because we get the credit when they go away.

She hadn’t vomited for several hours and was already feeling better. As I was congratulating myself on an easy visit, I heard the unmistakable sound of retching from the bathroom. This was her husband, the woman explained, adding that her mother and two year-old were also ill.

When the husband appeared, I took care of him. Unlike his wife, he welcomed an injection in addition to antivomiting pills which I also gave the mother as well as medication for her cramps and diarrhea. The child had diarrhea and little interest in eating but did not look ill. I limited myself to dietary advice and left my phone number.

When I phoned the following day, the husband informed me that the family was fine although everyone had been vomiting all night.

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