Thursday, December 19, 2019


Alcohol habit and
Helping the cheat

I am not sure if I have written this before, if so, my apologies for repetition. As a story told at different times, takes different colors, it may be still worth reading!

This incident occurred some twenty years back. Recollection came about because of a recent finding of clandestine drinking by a habitué.

The old Brigadier must have been in his 70s when this episode occurred. The main players Brig and his wife are no more. Brig Menon enjoyed his two large whiskies every evening and has been doing so for many years and was none the worse for this. His wife was not a party to this habit and was very critical of this and was trying her best to get him off. She was not very pleased when after seeing his lab reports and finding his liver function tests normal, when I told the Brig that he can have his two large pegs without worrying about liver damage. She admonished me for being frivolous for giving such advice!

They would visit me once or twice a year and during their next visit,’ I asked the Brig, ‘How are you doing’ Before he could answer, ‘the major general [wife ] took over,’ she said, ‘ doctor, he is very much better, that he is not drinking now’. I was a bit surprised at this and asked him how come he managed to get rid of the habit’ Again Major General replied,’ he was forced to stop as his cardiologist advised him that too much drinking is bad for his heart and liver. This threat of twin danger obviously has had the effect and the old Brig had stopped drinking. I did not like the advice given by the cardiologist, if true that is, that has deprived the old man of the one simple pleasure in his in his old age. Brigadier was sitting silently and I felt he did not like his wife that much at that moment.

Few months later, they met up with me again. This time it is because of Brigadier’s frequent urination at night. Doctor, ‘he goes too often, sometimes every fifteen minutes and it is worse in the night time’ said his wife. Brigadier as usual was quiet. I asked him and blood test done to exclude diabetes? The answer was yes done recently and there is no diabetes. Now I was fairly sure, Brig was having trouble with his prostate gland. After some discussion, it was agreed that he gets the tests done and then see me.

Next day Brigadier managed to come alone to see me.

‘Doc, I need to tell you something in confidence, he began, I still have my two drinks in the evening. I keep the whisky in an empty dettol bottle at the top shelf in the bathroom where my wife cannot see it and even if she sees it she will think its dettol and at that height she cannot reach it’ My frequent visits to the cloak room has made her bring me to you and you thought it is due to my prostate enlargement’ Now you have advised her to get me the test done, I have no option but to do so''.
I thought for a moment and sat thinking for a while, then I said, ''Sir, you get the tests done, at your age the report most likely will say there is enlarged prostate, you bring the report and I will tell your wife that such frequent urination only at some hours in the night does not need treatment and if it becomes worse, then we can give medication and no surgery is needed’’

Major general, when she visited me next, complimented me for diagnosing he husband’s condition and giving correct advice!

That is what happened and all of us, brigadier, major general and I remained happy ever after, till their demise that is!

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