Playing Doctor




Initial Visit?

Thursday, June 23

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I can see the nurse is visibly upset when the elevator doors open. I think about taking the stairs, but instead I step into the elevator. I give her a brief closed lipped smile, trying to telegraph the stiff upper lip of a ride I am hoping to have.

I am, apparently, terrible at telegraphing my desires.

She tells me that a family member of a patient threatened to have her killed. She does not know if she is willing to come back to our hospital and endure this kind of treatment from the people we serve.

‘I wouldn’t worry about it.’ I say. ‘These people have no ability for follow through.’

‘I don’t think that’s funny,’ she says. ‘How would you feel if one of your patients threatened you?’

‘I wasn’t joking,’ I say, ‘but I have been threatened, repeatedly.’

She vents about the experience for the remainder of the ride, and she seems to be serious about not coming back to the hospital, so I decide to demonstrate something.

We walk into the ED and I point to a fifty-two year-old man sitting in a stretcher.

‘You see that guy over there?’ I ask, ‘I worked with him for about an hour last night, less than four hours ago.’

I take off my white coat and my stethoscope, hand them to her, and, wearing my green scrubs, walk over to the man in the stretcher.

‘Hello sir,’ I say, ‘are you feeling better?’

‘A bit,’ he says, scrunching his nose at me, perplexed.

‘Oh, I’m sorry sir,’ I say, ‘I think I may have the wrong patient. What’s your doctor’s name?’

‘I don’t remember, I think it began with a P’

‘Big guy with glasses?’ I ask.

‘Yeah, that was the guy.’

I walk back to the nurse without either glasses or a big frame and retrieve my coat and stethoscope.

‘The guy who threatened you didn’t threaten you he threatened the nurse. We’re invisible behind the role we play. We’re ciphers. Go home and rest, then come back tomorrow. Your work is—You are—valuable.’

4 Comments:

6/23/2005
Blogger hot babe writes:

I'm not really understanding why you have the reputation of being an asshole.

 


6/23/2005
Blogger Erik writes:

You mean posting self-aggrandizing stories about myself doesn’t clue you in?

If not, it might take a full week to really do justice to the subject.

Next week’s theme is already fixed, the week after that is Independence Day, so let’s call July 11-15 Asshole Week.

Mark your calanders!

 


6/26/2005
Anonymous Anonymous writes:

That was GREAT! Just GREAT! (I confess I don't understand the connection between the title and the post.)

 


6/11/2006
Blogger NiMH writes:

a reference to The Little Prince, perhaps?

great writing.. i'm jealous..

 


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