Speak English Around Town » LESSON 10 - Visiting the Doctor

Visiting the Doctor

Grace has an appointment with Dr. Wilson. After discussing her symptoms and giving her a check-up, he says she has the flu.

Doctor: Hi, I'm Dr. Wilson. What seems to be the trouble?

Grace: I've been under the weather for days.

Doctor: The flu is going around. Did you get the vaccine?

Grace: No, this year I didn't get around to it.

Doctor: What are your symptoms?

Grace: I've had a splitting headache since yesterday morning. My whole body hurts.

Doctor: You have all the telltale signs of the flu. Let me take your temperature ... 101. That's on the high side.

Grace: My throat hurts, too.

Doctor: Let me take a peek. Yes, your throat is very red. It looks like a garden variety flu.

Grace: Are you going to prescribe some medicine for it?

Doctor: You can take Tylenol for your headache. Also, be sure to get plenty of rest and drink lots of water.

Grace: How long do you think this is going to drag on?

Doctor: You should be back on your feet in a week or so.

Grace: I have to get better quickly! I'm needed at the office.

Doctor: Well, there's no magic bullet. You're going to have to let this run its course.

  • back on one's feet
    healthy again; returned to good health
    Example: I was sick for two weeks, but now I'm back on my feet.
  • (to) drag on
    to last too long; to last longer than one wants
    Example: I've had a cold for three weeks. It just keeps dragging on!
  • garden variety
    ordinary; common; not unusual
    Example: The necklace that Jim bought his girlfriend is not a garden variety piece of jewelry. It cost $100,000.
  • (to) get around to it
    to have a chance to do something; to have time to do something
    Example: I know I need to have my cholesterol checked, but I just haven't gotten around to it.
  • going around
    spreading; going from one person to another
    Example: Your stomach hurts? You must have caught the bug that's going around.
  • magic bullet
    a drug or therapy that cures or prevents an illness, without harmful side effects; a simple solution to a problem (usually one that is too simplistic and doesn't work)
    Example: Bedbugs are very hard to get rid of. Unfortunately, there's no magic bullet.
    NOTE: this is often used in the negative: "no magic bullet"
  • on the high side
    rather high
    Example: Emma stayed home from school yesterday because her temperature was on the high side.
  • or so
    approximately (referring to a time period or quantity of something)
    Example: There were 200 or so people at the conference.
  • (to) run its course
    to allow time for an illness to pass through one's body
    Example: There's no cure for the cold. Just let it run its course.
  • splitting headache
    a very bad headache
    Example: Julia left work early, saying she had a splitting headache.
  • (to) take a peek
    to have a quick look
    Example: Your car isn't running well? Let me take a peek under the hood and see if I can figure out what's wrong.
  • telltale signs
    sure signs of a problem; typical symptoms that indicate something
    Example: Liz feels nauseous all the time and says she's gaining weight. Those are telltale signs that she's pregnant!
  • under the weather
    feeling sick
    Example: If you're under the weather, don't go to work.
  • What seems to be the trouble?
    What's wrong?
    Example: "What seems to be the trouble?" asked the auto mechanic when we brought our car in to the shop.
Practice the Expressions

Imagine that you are at the doctor's office. Choose the most appropriate replies to the doctor:

  1. Are you feeling under the weather again today?
    • a) Yes, I woke up with a headache.
    • b) Yes, I'm feeling much better than yesterday.
    • c) Yes, I see several storm clouds in the sky.
  2. Get plenty of rest and let this cold run its course.
    • a) Right. I'm planning on going running this afternoon.
    • b) Okay, I'm glad to hear the cold will go away so quickly.
    • c) Okay, I'll stay home from work for the next couple of days.
  3. A runny nose and a sore throat are telltale signs of a cold.
    • a) I thought I might have a cold.
    • b) I knew I didn't have a cold.
    • c) I thought it might be cold out today.
  4. Unfortunately, there's no magic bullet for Lyme Disease.
    • a) Okay, please write me a prescription for it.
    • b) Right, I understand it can be difficult to treat.
    • c) Right, bullets don't cure anything.
  5. What seems to be the trouble?
    • a) It's no trouble at all.
    • b) My left ear has been hurting for several days.
    • c) Things are going very well.
  6. Your temperature is 100 degrees. That's on the high side.
    • a) That's good news.
    • b) I thought I was feeling a little warm.
    • c) I thought I was feeling a little cool.
  7. A stomach bug is going around.
    • a) I think I must have caught it.
    • b) I don't know where it's going.
    • c) I'm glad it's going around.
  8. What do you usually take when you have a splitting headache?
    • a) I take aspirin or Tylenol.
    • b) I take a couple days off work.
    • c) I don't take anything because it doesn't hurt.
  9. You've got a garden variety cold.
    • a) Oh no! How will I ever recover?
    • b) Okay. I'm glad it's nothing serious!
    • c) How could I have caught such an illness?
  10. Your cough shouldn't drag on too much longer.
    • a) So you think it'll last another couple of months?
    • b) So you think I'll have it forever?
    • c) So you think it'll be gone by next week?
Answer Key
Practice The Expressions
  1. a
  2. c
  3. a
  4. b
  5. b
  6. b
  7. a
  8. a
  9. b
  10. c
Answer Key
Language Lens: Going to / Will

In spoken English, "going to" is the form used most often to talk about the future.

=> Use "going to" to talk about something planned for the future:
I'm going to buy a new car this year.
Is your daughter going to attend Dartmouth or Columbia?
What are you going to do on New Year's Eve?

=> Use "going to" to make a prediction based on evidence you have now:
Be careful. You're going to spill your drink!
This plan is too complicated. It's not going to work.

"Will" is also often used to speak about the future. Use will (or 'II) in these situations:

=> To talk about a decision made at the moment of speaking.
Once you've made the decision, use "going to" to talk about it:
I'll make the dinner reservations for Saturday night. Bob, please let Sara know that I'm going to make the dinner reservations.
Mom: "If you don't go to bed right now, I'm not taking you to the zoo tomorrow morning!"
    Zach: "I'll go to bed now! Dad, I'm going to go to bed now."

=> To talk about things we believe to be true about the future:
I'm sure you'll like your new job.
The dean will serve for five years.
Our new toaster will arrive next Monday.

=> To make a promise or an agreement with someone:
I'll call you when I get to Paris.
I'll send you the check tomorrow.

Note: Do not use "will" or "going to" in future time clauses.
SAY: As soon as you finish the report, call me and we'll review it.
NOT: As soon as you will finish the report, call me and we'll review it.

Quick Quiz

PART A: Form sentences from the following using "going to"

Example: The Millers I vacation in France next summer.
Answer: The Millers are going to vacation in France next summer.

  1. We / rent a cottage on the beach this August.
  2. What sights / show your visitors?
  3. We / move to San Francisco in July.
  4. I / call my doctor for an appointment.
  5. Someone / fall on this slippery sidewalk.

PART B: Fill in the blanks with "going to" or "will"

  1. We have squirrels in our attic. We're not sure yet what we _____ do about it.
    • a)will
    • b) are going to
  2. Nobody has taken out the trash? I _____ it.
    • a) 'll do
    • b) 'm going to do
  3. Watch out! You _____ hit the car in front of us!
    • a) will
    • b) are going to
  4. Did I tell you my plan? I _____ apply to law school.
    • a) 'll
    • b) 'm going to
  5. "Will you marry me?" - "Yes, I _____ !"
    • a) will
    • b) am going to
Answer Key
Part A
  1. We are (We're) going to rent a cottage on the beach this August.
  2. What sights are you going to show your visitors?
  3. We are (We're) going to move to San Francisco in July.
  4. I am (I'm) going to call my doctor for an appointment.
  5. Someone is going to fall on this slippery sidewalk.
Part B
  1. b
  2. a
  3. b
  4. b
  5. a
Answer Key
Favorite Books

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