The following was presented to the Pennsylvania Academy of Dermatology at its annual meeting in Bedford Springs, Pa. The verses were sung to the tune of “I’ve Got a Little List” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Mikado.”
For those unsure of how the words fit, the editors of this periodical are considering a lottery. Winners will get an MP3 of the author singing the lyrics. Losers will get two copies.
I’ve Got a Little (Dermatologic) List
One day your staff informs you that a patient who’s called up
Has asked that you call back –
At once! Call him right back! –
But to your consternation you discover that you lack
The telephonic knack
You lack the call-back knack
For the man who wants to be assured he knows that he’s been called
And so he’s ordered voice mail – but it hasn’t been installed
Or else you hear a message that suffuses you with gloom –
Her voice mail works just dandy, but it’s full and got no room
Or else he’s a millennial who doesn’t use the phone
What right has he to moan?
We’ll just leave him alone!
Among the many irritants providing me with grist
The naive integumentalist
Must be there on my list
The one who’s sure that any scaly rash that comes among us
Is certainly a fungus
What else? A yeast or fungus!
Yet doles out betamethasone for every scaly sole
And smears all roundish eczema with ketoconazole
And knows they can’t be bedbugs if the bites don’t come in three
And rules out pityriasis because there is no tree!
And calls each itch that patients have inscribed into a furrow
A scabietic burrow –
An idiocy thorough!
Returning now to patients, I really must insist
To put some on my list
(In fact, they top the list!)
They’re the people who have generated their own laundry list
Or else at least the gist –
(Their list contains the gist) –
The redness of my pimples now takes much too long to fade
I have a strange sensation just below my shoulder blade
I get these funny white bumps when my family travels south
And intermittent cracking at the corners of my mouth
I have a newish brown mark on the right side of my nose
And frequent scaling in between my first and second toes
Now let me double check my list, because you see I fear
That I’ll leave something crucial out – now that I’ve got you here!
This armpit mark’s irregular – you see, there is a stipple
And new light yellow bumps have just appeared around my nipple
The red splotch underneath my breast – my doctor says it’s yeast
I have this dark spot. See my navel? Go one inch northeast
Oh, wait, there is a skin tag on the right side of my neck
And now, as long as I am here, let’s do a body check …
And yes, there is just one more thing I must ask you about
I am concerned – in fact I’m sure – my hair is falling out!
Now that we are concluding, we should surely not forget
The ones not on the list
Forget about the list!
Those patients every one of us is very glad we’ve met
And happy to assist
The ones who would be missed
Those lovely people each of us is gratified to serve
Who often praise our efforts rather more than we deserve
And anyhow the tables turn, and so sooner or later
We docs will take our turn as patients, crunched to bits of data …
I hope my cranky litany has served to entertain ya
So thank you for inviting me –
Good morning, Pennsylvania!
Dr. Rockoff practices dermatology in Brookline, Mass, and is a longtime contributor to Dermatology News. He serves on the clinical faculty at Tufts University, Boston, and has taught senior medical students and other trainees for 30 years. His new book “Act Like a Doctor, Think Like a Patient” is now available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. This is his second book. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.