The Anonymous Widower

Dr. Egerton White

I am fairly unique amongst people these days in that I was delivered by my GP; Dr. Egerton White.

He was your classic GP of the time in North London.  He had the Rover 90 or 110, the corporation, waistcoat and watch-chain, the kindly face and warm hands, and everything else that went with the job.

But why did he come all of the way from Winchmore Hill to my parent’s home in Cockfosters?

It was a drive of about five or six kilometres and all of my friends and neighbours used doctors who were much closer. My father always said that it was because his was one of the first houses built in the area and there weren’t any doctors.  He may also have been a client of my father’s printing business.  But then that wouldn’t add up, as the house was built in 1936 and I don’t think my father was working there at the time.

It has always been a puzzle.

I can still see Dr. White’s face in my mind, as he came many times to see me at home. I should say, that I also went to see him and his partner, Dr. Curley, at Winchmore Hill just as many times too. It was an unusual face in that it was round and covered in dark pigmented spots.

Only now, do I know what the problem is with my health.  I am a coeliac, which means I’m allergic to the gluten found in wheat, barley and rye.  But in those far off days of the late 1940s and early 1950s, no-one knew how to diagnose my problem.  He thought I may have had an egg allergy, but try as he could, he missed the diagnosis.  Incidentally, go through my medical notes and you’ll see all sorts of symptoms that now I put down to being a coeliac.

Note that I don’t use coeliac disease.  I suffer from a diet-controlled non-illness.

One incident stands out.  At about seven, I caught scarlet fever.  Or did I?

I had all the symptoms and was placed in isolation at home.  But according to Dr. White, I was the only case in London.  So was it some weird manifestation of my allergy.  I don’t know and I suppose I could find out if I had a test for the antibodies.  But does it really matter?  No!  In the grand scheme of things.

About seven years ago, I bought a new car.  The salesman had the same skin colour with the pigmented spots as Dr. White. And the salesman was black or of mixed-race!

So does this partly explain the reason how the good Dr. Egerton White came to be my family’s doctor in North London?

June 30, 2009 - Posted by | Health | , , , ,

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