Even highly suggestive questions like: "Why have you come here today?" or "How can I help you?" can prove futile.
This couple seemed to enjoy playing this game with me. Usually individually but today they had come as a double act.
They were a very pleasant Chinese couple in their late fifties, who obviously had no faith in western medicine.
Today, Mrs Xu (fake name obviously) asked me to check her blood pressure....again. I noticed we had checked it more often than usual over the previous 6 month period.
It is normal, as usual.
Mr. Xu's blood pressure was a bit raised as usual so I ask if he had taken his blood pressure medication. I knew the answer coming. No.
"No good for me. Maybe I have 2.5mg, instead of 5mg?" He hasn't actually tried taking it. He proceeds to show me blood pressure readings done on their home monitor within the same range.
Mrs Xu is also monitoring hers, as a control in their experiment, I suspect.
"Ah, yes. But we no like this a medicine. We have new one from China. Very good medicine"
We have had exactly the same conversation at least four times in the past 6 months. We talk about her varicose veins and hot flushes, his low vitamin D, eczema and raised cholesterol.
He collects the prescription for the lower dose but emphasises very pleasantly, that they will not be taking any prescribed medication.
We have small chat about China, they recommend parts to visit and they present me with another tin of authentic Chinese tea.
They are very grateful.
For what? I do not know.