I aspirated a ganglion for the first time yesterday. I don't know why I'd left it this long, because I don't mind doing things with needles. I inject joints and aspirate effusions, but for some reason I'd never tackled a ganglion. Then the other day I read a comment on a mailing list to the effect that “we've all aspirated those” and determined to do something about it. Yesterday a victim walked into my surgery with a medium-sized ganglion on the back of his hand and agreed to let me treat it. I checked with my expert chum Neil who gave me good advice: use a white (wide bore) needle, a 10ml syringe to get plenty of suction, and squeeze the ganglion as you aspirate. I followed his instructions, and duly extracted 2ml of clear thick sticky fluid. We were all very pleased with the result.
Today I saw a lass of about my age whom I have known for many a long year. She is a great worrier, and from time to time she comes to share her worries with me. I was able to advise her again today, and at the end of the consultation she said “thank you for humouring me” which was a kind compliment. I told her the Voltaire quote (“medicine is the art of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease”) which she enjoyed. Although on reflection the word “humouring” is probably less to do with amusement and more with getting the four humours of the body into equilibrium. We try to remain sanguine in the face of these uncertainties.