I haven't told you about the time I thought I'd invented a disease. It was about four years ago, around Easter time. In the course of a week I saw five or six young boys, brought by worried mothers with a funny rash. As it happened all the boys had a red, blotchy, painful rash on the tops of their ears. Nowhere else. Just bright red ears.
I mentioned it one morning at coffee and the doc in the next room said he'd seen a couple of lads and one girl with a similar rash too, so we started looking in the dermatology books. Nothing. All sorts of rashes that could include the ears. Some scary lesions thet often came on the ears (but generally after a long life lived in the glare of the sun-- not something you see a lot of in kids in Borsetshire). But nothing like what we were seeing.
We began to argue about whose name should go first on the eponym for our new mystery erruption. Of course I stuck out for "Jest-Neighbour Disease". He churlishly argued for "Neighbour -Jest Syndrome". Well you can all see that doesn't scan nearly so well and sounds much less imposing can't you. (And it would inevitably get shortened to Neighbour's Syndrome and not Jest's Disease-- plainly wrong, after all I had more cases AND I had raised it at coffee time, so there.)
Then, just to be on the safe side before rushing in to print for the Christmas edition of the BMJ, which is the one where they put all the quirky stuff that isn't really "hard" science, I just thought I would Google the description and see what came up.
It was like getting to whichever Pole it was, only to find a blooming Norwegian flag there and "Ammundsen woz 'ere" scrawled in the snow. Some blighter had seen it before, and described it. What we had both been seeing were cases of "Juvenile Spring Time Erruption" (another diagnosis you can't help smiling at-- "that's not a proper erruption, stop being Juvenile!").
It plagues boys with short haircuts or sticky out ears. And the occasional Tomboy girlie obviously. The thing is, they all get to have a break from school in the spring, the weather -- please god-- turns sunny, and they all want to go out to play. Without their woolly hats. The combination of cold wind, bright sun, and innocent little ear tops causes the rash. Needless to say it soon gets better all on its own and it needs no treatment, which is pretty much how we had been "managing" our little outbreak anyway.
Now I come to think about it I'm sure I had it a time or two as a nipper.
Looks like I'll have to wait a little longer for my shot at immortality though.