From "Three Men in a Boat" by Jerome K. Jerome
I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment. I got down the book and read all I came to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves and began to study diseases, generally. I forgot which was the first, and before I had glanced half down the list of "premonitory symptoms", I was sure that I had got it.
I sat for a while frozen with horror; and then in despair Г again turned over the pages. I came 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's knee.
I sat and thought what an interesting case I must be from a medical point of view. Students would have no need to "walk the hospitals" if they had me. I was a hospital in myself. All they 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 not at first feel any pulse at all. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed to start off. I pulled out my watch and timed it. I made it a hundred and forty-seven to the minute. I tried to feel my heart. 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 at my tongue. I stuck it out as.far as ever it would go, and I shut one eye and tried to examine it with the other. I could only see the tip, but I felt more certain than before that I had scarlet fever.
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 my tongue, and talks about the weather, all for nothing, when I fancy I'm ill. So I went straight up and saw him, and he said:
"Well, what's the matter with you?"
"I will not take up your time, dear boy, with telling you what is the matter with me. Life is short and you might pass away before I had finished. But 1 will tell you what is not the matter 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 me over the chest when I wasn't expecting it — a cowardly thing to do, I call it After that, he sat down and wrote out a prescription, and folded it up and gave it me, and I put it in my pocket and went out.
I did not open it, I took it to the nearest chemist's, and handed it in. The man read it, and then handed it back. He said he didn't keep it.
"You are a chemist?"
"1 am a chemist. If I was a co-operative stores and family hotel combined, 1 might be able to 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 going on.