Part 1

Doctor: Good morning Ms. Brannigan. What seems to be the problem?
Samantha: Well, recently I’ve been a little under the weather. I’ve lost my appetite, and have been feeling a bit run down – it’s difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
Doctor: Any aches or pains?
Samantha: My muscles are a bit sore.
Doctor: And how long have you been feeling like this?
Samantha: About a week now. I thought it was just a cold, but it hasn’t cleared up. I’ve hardly eaten anything in the last 3 days.
Doctor: Have you been running a fever, or noticed any rashes?
Samantha: No, nothing like that.
Doctor: OK, it sounds like a virus, but I’d like to take some blood work just to be sure. I reckon a course of antibiotics will soon have you back on your feet.
Samantha: Thanks Doc.

1. What seems to be the problem? = What’s the matter? = What’s wrong?
2. under the weather = not feeling that well
I’ve been feeling under the weather recently. I think I need a holiday.
3. run down = tired, lacking energy, possibly through too much work
I think she has been feeling rather run down recently. It’s not surprising considering how much she is working.
4. clear up = get better; bad situation goes away
The rash on my arms still hasn’t cleared up.
The weather should clear up this afternoon.
5. back on your feet = back to feeling normal and active
I know the medicine tastes terrible, but it’s good for you. You’ll be back on your feet in no time.
He has had a tough year, what with losing his wife and house, but I’m sure he’ll be back on his feet soon.
6. Doc = a very casual way to say doctor


Part 2

Doctor: Hi there Mr. Adams. What seems to be the matter?
Dave: I’ve had this persistent cough for about 3 weeks now. It’s driving me mad.
Doctor: I see. How would you describe this cough? A tickle, or a hacking cough?
Dave: During the day it isn’t so bad, but at night and in the morning it’s awful. I’m coughing upall sorts of gunk.
Doctor: Any other symptoms?
Dave: Well, it started after a cold, but it’s just the cough that hasn’t cleared up.
Doctor: Do you smoke?
Dave: I used to, but I quit 5 years ago.
Doctor: It sounds like maybe an allergy, or a case of mild pneumonia.
Dave: That sounds serious.
Doctor: Oh, don’t worry, they’re both treatable with some medicine and some rest. Nonetheless, I’ll do a few tests just to rule some things out.

1. persistent = doesn’t stop, keeps going
Unfortunately one of the bad things about living on the coast is the persistent rain.
You have to admit, Dave is very persistent; he just kept asking Samantha out until she said yes.
2. tickly cough = a irritating small cough
3. a hacking cough = a big cough, often producing not very nice stuff from the throat
4. isn’t so bad = not good, but I can deal with it
What’s it like living with your boss? A nightmare, I guess.
Oh, it isn’t so bad. Actually, I hardly see him.

5. gunk = horrible stuff, often disgusting soft solids
Urgh, the sink is filled with gunk.
I decided to clean out the drain last week. Some of the gunk down there almost made me vomit.
6. rule some things out = make sure it isn’t those; confidently say it isn’t this
The policeman asked him to give a DNA sample to rule him out of the investigation.
One of the top two teams should win, but you can’t rule City out yet.


Part 3

My doctor is a complete quack; I don’t trust his opinion at all. Last year, for instance, I came to him with a rash all over my forearms. His verdict: an allergic reaction to my washing powder. Six months later I was back, this time with a sore throat that did not go away. I thought it was SARS, but he said it was because I smoked too much and didn’t get enough rest. Then last week I visited him because I had red spots all over my body. I was sure it was the Ebola virus, but he diagnosed it as chicken pox. Honestly, I don’t think he knows anything. Next time, I’m going to get a second opinion.

1. a quack = a doctor who doesn’t know what he/she is doing
2. for instance = for example
She’s always doing stupid things. Last week, for instance, she tried to clean her shoes by putting them in the dishwasher.
3. forearms = the parts of the arm between the elbow and the wrist
4. ebola virus = a highly deadly, highly contagious disease
5. chicken pox = a short-term virus people get, usually as children, that gives them itchy spots on their body
6. a second opinion = ask another person to see what they think (often because the first person didn’t convince me)
She told me it should be OK, but I would like to get a second opinion just to be sure.


Part 4

Over the course of history, there have been some strange medical cures. Sometimes this was because people didn’t really understand medicines: in the 19th century, for instance, children’s medicines included strong drugs such as morphine, and heroin was used to stop coughing. Mercury – a highly toxic element – was used for a long time to try and cure many different types of diseases.
Some medical cures used in the past sound insane to us now. Lobotomies (driving sticks into the brain), trepanation (making holes in the skull to cure headaches), and using tapeworms to lose weight are not things doctors usually recommend now, thankfully. Worse was that anesthetic was far less effective in the past (if used at all), meaning a lot of the medical practices were incredibly painful. However, there are some medical cures used today that also sound rather uncomfortable: bone-stretching, removing half the brain, or amputating everything below the waist are all still done in medicine.
Finally, some people still try unusual cures. Some pregnant women have dolphins ‘kiss’ their stomachs to try and improve the baby’s development, whilst there are people who sit in mud or sand to try and cure aches and pains. Laughter therapy – in which people try to laugh as much as possible – has become increasingly popular. The science may not be proven for these cures, but if it makes people feel better, then perhaps that is enough.

*You can read more at:

1. Over the course of…= during; within this time
Over the course of the last year, Dave has been turned down by at least 5 women.
Your great grandfather was an avid collector. I think over the course of his life, for instance, he collected somethig like 10 000 magazines.
2. insane = crazy
I wouldn’t talk to him. He has an insane look in his eye.
This game is insane: 3-1 to 4-3, now it’s 6-4.
3. thankfully: sometimes added to the end of a sentence, similar to ‘thank God’
She hasn’t bumped into her ex-husband yet, thankfully. They’ll probably kill each other if they meet.
4. if…at all = sometimes/perhaps not used; sometimes/perhaps not any (said after saying how little/bad something is)
They have hardly said a word to each other this year, if they have spoken at all.
There’s only a little cheese left, if any at all.
5. amputating = cutting off a body part
6. increasingly popular = more and more people are doing it
Extreme sports have become increasingly popular amongst the middle-aged.