. . . . just ampules of tastelessness -- in the story of California practitioner Doug Doerner whose wife's bedability has yielded to chronic hypochondria, whose investments have not worked out, and whose 15-year-old daughter is pregnant. He has to abort her in his office with the help of a nurse with whom he is having an affair. Shortly thereafter he starts shooting Demerol into his middle-aged veins and before long he blanks out in surgery. His first cure is as short-lived as the doctor-friend who persuades him to take it -- the latter has a coronary. Finally he's in and out of a clinic and with transactional analysis and Margaret and methadone he just may make it. There are cravings and cravings -- Kerr intentionally gratifies them all; and if you remember his earlier The Clinic, you'll be exposed to a lot of professional detail. Midway through the book you meet up with an emesis basin. They seem made for each other.