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I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slightailment. I got down the book and read all I came to read; and then, in an unthinkingmoment, I idly turned the leaves and began to study diseases, generally. I forgot which wasthe first, and before I had glanced half down the list of "premonitory symptoms", I was surethat I had got it.
I sat for a while frozen with horror; and then in despair à again turned over the pages. Icame to typhoid fever — read the symptoms — discovered that I had typhoid fever —began to get interested in my case, and so started alphabetically.
Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been bom with.I looked through the twenty-six letters, and the only disease I had not got was housemaid'sknee.
I sat and thought what an interesting case I must be from a medical point of view. Studentswould have no need to "walk the hospitals" if they had me. I was a hospital in myself. Allthey need do would be to walk round me, and, after that, take their diploma.
Then I wondered how long I had to live. I tried to examine myself. I felt my pulse. I could notat first feel any pulse at all. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed to start off. I pulled out mywatch and timed it. I made it a hundred and forty-seven to the minute. I tried to feel myheart. I could not feel my heart. It had stopped beating. I patted myself all over my front,from what I call my waist up to my head but I could not feel or hear anything. I tried to look atmy tongue. I stuck it out as. far as ever it would go, and I shut one eye and tried to examineit with the other. I could only see the tip, but I felt more certain than before that I had scarletfever.
I had walked into the reading-room a happy, healthy man. I crawled out a miserable wreck.
I went to my medical man. He is an old chum of mine, and feels my pulse, and looks at mytongue, and talks about the weather, all for nothing, when I fancy I'm ill. So I went straight upand saw him, and he said:
"Well, what's the matter with you? "
I said:
"I will not take up your time, dear boy, with telling you what is the matter with me. Life isshort and you might pass away before I had finished. But 1 will tell you what is not thematter with me. Everything else, however, I have got. "
And I told him how I came to discover it all,
Then he opened me and looked down me, and took hold of my wrist, and then he hit meover the chest when I wasn't expecting it — a cowardly thing to do, I call it After that, he satdown and wrote out a prescription, and folded it up and gave it me, and I put it in mypocket and went out.
I did not open it, I took it to the nearest chemist's, and handed it in. The man read it, andthen handed it back. He said he didn't keep it.
I said:
"You are a chemist? "
He said:
"1 am a chemist. If I was a co-operative stores and family hotel combined, 1 might be ableto oblige you. "
I read the prescription. It ran:
"1 lb. beefsteak, with
1 pt. bitter beer
every six hours.
1 ten-mile walk every morning.
1 bed at 11 sharp every night.
And don't stuff up your head with things you don't understand. "
I followed the directions with the happy result that my life was preserved and is still goingon.


Date: 2015-02-16; view: 2070

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