Stop right there! Before we go any further…

GPs baffle me.  Not the terminology they use – I’ve got some books and I know how to Google – but rather the awesome  capacity they have for condescention, superiority and supercilliousness.

I’ve lived with medical students and it was little short of terrifying that these idiots would, in the space of a few very short years, find themselves making life or death judgements regarding a small child or somebody’s helplessly infirm granny.  To a man they were beer-soaked buffoons incapable of operating anything more complex than their belt buckles, in whose blunderingly incapable hands you would no more place your health than you would trust it to a poorly-trained cocker-spaniel wearing oven gloves.

But regardless of this youthful ineptitude, by the time you encounter those crashing incompetents in their own little surgery rooms, they have not only passed some exams and (probably) killed a few folk in Accident and Emergency, but have also morphed into the most patronisingly condescending know-it-alls and developed egos bigger than Staffordshire Hospital’s mortality rate.  During the same period, it transpires their poor opinion of the general public has merely shifted from ‘bloody people coming between me and the student bar’ to ‘bloody people coming between me and the wine bar’.

We do have one deceptively genial little GP in our local practice but his superiority complex is merely disguised behind a jaunty bow tie and some David Dickinson half moons, to lull you into thinking he’s a jovial eccentric, not a spite-ridden megalomaniac with a chip on his shoulder about not being a surgeon who couldn’t care less if you lived or died as long as the prescription he writes for you gets him a good lunch from the drugs rep.  My friend calls him Doctor Loop-de-loop.  And, delightfully, Dr Loop-de-loop has been the gentleman most interested in my contraceptive needs.  Oh joy.

On my first check-up after having my second child, Dr Loop-de-loop drew me into an uncharactaristically (for me) emotional conversation about how I was coping with two kids and even managed to make me cry a little (not exactly an arduous task when confronted with any mother to a newborn).  Having established my fragile state, lack of libido and tendency towards depression, he then prescribed a contraceptive pill different to my old one.  Suspicious as ever of drugs rep influence on the change, I asked whether there were any side effects.

“Nothing out of the ordinary”, was the helpful reply.

A few hours later I had read so many horror stories in so many forums from women bemoaning the effects of this pill on (a) their mental states and (b) their libidos that I deduced it to be an unwise choice for me.  I ignored the prescription and Husband No.1 and I  continued to get off at Haymarket*.

At my next visit to Doctor Loop-de-loop, on an unrelated matter, the subject of contraception reared its ugly head again.  His Groundhog-day obliviousness to previous appointments means he often begins conversations that have been held before and rarely consults patient notes, or else he’d see that I’d spurned his prescription and was still in danger of expanding the gene pool through irresponsible copulation.  So, not checking the notes or remembering about his prescription, he asked afresh what form of contraception I was using.

“Er…condoms”, I lied, hoping to end the discussion.

“Well, there’s a word for people who use condoms you know”, says he.

“Er…parents?”, I guessed.

“Parents!”, he answered delightedly, ignoring my anticipation of his punchline, “Would your husband like a vasectomy?”

I doubt it, thought I, wondering if he’d meant that to sound like an offer.  But before I could form a suitable answer, Doctor Loop-de-loop launched into what I can only describe as the most jaw-dropping discussion I’ve ever had with a member of the medical profession.  And I’ve broken bones in Italy.

“Well, just a word of warning if he does”, he began, ready to earn his nickname.  “If he does, make sure you tell no-one in your family.  NO-ONE, I say!”

I found myself unenthusiastic about where this conversation might be heading; I only came in with an ear infection!  But I couldn’t help myself.  During his pregnant (excuse the pun) pause, my eyebrow raised involuntarily and I let out an inquiring, if slightly strangled, ‘hmm?’  Shit.

“Yes.  Keep his vasectomy between yourselves.  You’re a young, attractive lady.  I’m sure you still have a social life.”


“So, just imagine the scene; you go out one night, perhaps you have a little too much to drink and you meet a flattering young chap and, well, one thing leads to another and you find yourself in the family way.”


“So you and your husband talk this through, decide to raise the child as your own – an admirable decision but there, you see!”

There?  What do I see?!  What’s happening?!

“Your whole family know the child isn’t your husband’s!”  This last sentence was uttered with some triumph.


“So if he does have a vasectomy, keep it to yourselves.  That’s my advice.”

“Right. Hang on”, say I, “I stepped in here with a sore ear and in the space of ten minutes you’ve given my husband the snip, got me pissed in the local whereupon I’ve picked up some random bloke, shagged him, got myself up the duff, agreed with my hapless and seedless husband to keep the child and raise it as our own, whereupon the entire family shun us because they know it’s a bastard.  And all because of that Vasectomy Party we just had to throw.  Well, I don’t think that’s on, Doctor Loop-de-loop, in fact, I’m quite sure  this kind of advice is rather frowned upon by the BMA.”

Of course, what I actually said was, “Um…well, I thought perhaps…the coil…?”

And so I left, with a pamphlet, and a niggling sense of undeserved shame.


*For those of you unfamiliar with the phrase; ‘Getting off at Haymarket’ is a euphemism for the withdrawal method of contraception, Haymarket being the penultimate station for many trains into Edinburgh which then terminate at Waverley.


14 Responses to Stop right there! Before we go any further…

  1. Cherie says:

    It’s impossible to overstate how rapidly I am blinking at the screen right now. What the what the WHAT?

  2. Nikkii says:

    I know someone that happened to – I DO – honest! Lovely little redhead “they” had 😉 I think the whole town knew – now in Edinburgh you could probably get away with that sort of thing….

    Haymarket – well Clachnacudden – haven’t heard that one for a whiley lol.

    • jinedin says:

      Can and probably very often do, Edinburgh being so bloody incestuous.
      Clachnacudden’s soooo much funnier…! We may have to move house for the comedy value alone.

  3. mrshev says:

    Firstly, your doctor is as mad as a bag of yo-yos. Also: what the fuck? (if you’ll pardon the pun). That is quite possibly the weirdest, worst-case-scenario advice that I think I have ever read or heard making a series of assumptions that are downright leaps of faith.

    Talking of the medical profession, when my mother was dying of cancer; which was slow and painful. She was in a particularly bad way one day so we phoned the Health Visitor with some urgency and implored her to come visit and assess the situation. This is the short conversation:

    Me: ‘She is in a great deal of pain, and the medication she’s taking is not really having an effect.’

    Health Visitor: ‘Ummm…have you thought of taking more paracetamol?’

    Me: ‘Have you thought of an alternative career?’

    (I actually said that, it shames me to say…A Macmillan nurse ended up sorting it out, with some difficulty)

    Secondly: Haymarket. I haven’t laughed so hard at a computer screen since using Windows Vista. Great stuff.

    • EhMum says:

      Yes, he’s a tad eccentric. Someone from my ante-natal class read this and said her husband got the same advice..! Er…except the getting pregnant bit.

      Sad to hear about your mum – I heard the MacMillan nurses are just brilliant but your retort to the Health Visitor sounds totally justified. Paracetamol??? What’s the opposite of using a hammer to crack a walnut?

      As for Haymarket – I’m just so jealous of Nikkii, being able to use Clachnacudden instead. That’s comedy gold, that is…

  4. Steph says:

    My husband says that I chased him around with scissors after Child #2, so he had to get snipped. To everyone. The whole night of debauchery obviously never occurred to either of us and since both children are mirror images of said hubby, as Desi Arnaz, “Lucy, you got a lot of splaining to do!” would definitely be the case for me! Wonder if he was speaking from experience or too addicted to the soaps?

    • EhMum says:

      Yeah, to be honest the whole night of debauchery didn’t really occur to us either, just my unhinged doctor. I’ll stick with the coil idea though, if physical exercise is required to frighten Husband No.1 into the snip. 😉

  5. My midwife of hiccup No. 4 calmly suggested picking up a couple of bricks on our way out. A midwife and wisewoman.

    I rarely get on the train at all these days but if I do I make sure I hide in the toilets when the ticket inspector comes round, never share a table seat with someone I’ve not been properly introduced to, prefer to travel forwards if possible, read the headlines over shoulders, don’t make eye contact and jump off a few hundred yards before Mr RB does. How’s about that for some euphemism? No idea where I was going there…. Hopefully not all the way…

  6. Sally says:

    Just wanted to say congratulations and let you know that your blog has been nominated in the MAD Blog Awards for UK parent blogs.
    If you’d like to find out more about the awards and the prizes on offer, then head over to
    We will be publishing details of all the nominees in all the categories on Monday morning, and nominations are open until 5pm that day – so if you’d like to take part, make sure you encourage all your friends, family and readers to keep nominating!
    Best of luck and well done on your nomination.
    The MAD Blog Awards

  7. Came here from Angels and Urchins blog. Very funny post.

    My favourite gp happened to a friend of mine who was told “I can tell you’re a first time mother”. Yup. Because she cared about her child’s health and wasn’t an instant expert and so wanted some advice? Don’t they teach them any relational skills at med school? (don’t answer that)

    • EhMum says:

      Hang on. Are you insinuating us second-timers don’t care about our child’s health? 😉 Joking.
      Yeah, my mate had three visits to the doctor insisting her firstborn’s problem wasn’t just a chest-infection and it was only when she broke down in tears they referred her (with a weary sigh) to hospital, where the 6 month old was admitted immediately with pneumonia.
      Way to go, GPs.

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