Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Friday 26 August 2011


It's a scene that turns up at least once or twice a week in TV drama: a hand guides a cabled scanner across a stomach, a machine bleeps, and soon there's either a coo of joy or a grim-faced nurse conferring in hushed tones with a doctor (cue cliffhanger music..........)

Today, the stomach was mine, but there were neither coos nor grim face. I'd just happened to ask my GP if indigestion in the middle of the night was a known side effect of statins: and he arranged for me to be ultrasounded, or whatever the term is. For obsessive watchers of NHS performance, by the way, my appointment was within three weeks of my seeing the GP, the waiting-room was the usual functional but depressing 1970s-style decor; but I was seen on the dot of the appointed time, and out again with 15 minutes (just as well, as I hadn't been allowed to eat for six hours and I was starving) - and there's a dinky little electrical warmer for the lubricant (that's quite enough of that from the back row, thank you very much).

Don't ask if it's a boy or a girl, please; nor do I have a copy of the snapshots (clichés - geddit?) - those will go to my GP in the usual way. But at least it's not an ulcer. It seems, quite simply, that I have a fatty liver.

Just fancy: do-it-yourself foie gras.

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