This etext was produced from The Counterfeit Man - More Science Fiction Stories by Alan E. Nourse published in 1963. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.
Wheatley had been palpitating for five days straight at the prospect of coming here. "I know it's silly," he said. "But I've been having a pain in my toe."
"Indeed!" said the doctor. "Well, now! How long have you had this pain, my man?"
"About six months now, I'd say. Just now and then, you know. It's never really been bad. Until last week. You see--"
"I see," said the doctor. "Getting worse all the time, you say."
Wheatley wiggled the painful toe reflectively. "Well--you might say that. You see, when I first--"
"How old did you say you were, Mr. Wheatley?"
"Fifty-five!" The doctor leafed through the medical record on his desk. "But this is incredible. You haven't had a checkup in almost ten years!"
"I guess I haven't," said Wheatley, apologetically. "I'd been feeling pretty well until--"
"Feeling well!" The doctor stared in horror. "But my dear fellow, no checkup since January 1963! We aren't in the Middle Ages, you know. This is 1972."
Nourse (a doctor) nailed the increasing specialization of doctors; they know more and more about less and less, and test for what they're familiar with. Small wonder the poor bastard waited to get his toe looked at.
An excellent, humorous short story as pertinent in 2010 as when it was written.
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