Playing Doctor

Initial Visit?

Monday, March 20

I’ve Been so Good up till Now

At the pizza joint, Chicago and I share a pizza and a pitcher of Peroni.

He’s telling me about the cadre of kids he takes care of at the Boys & Girls Club. I’d forgotten the way his eyes lit up when he talked about them, and I’m swayed by this. He’s excitable now because of the topic, and while he talks I eat the lion’s share of the pizza–it’s called the T-Rex and it’s got a whole lotta meat.

We’re making plans for going to the kickoff game against the Bengals and talking about our post-college rogue years. He asks me about the picture on my refrigerator. It’s of me in my scrubs with the family of one of my patients. I tell him the patient’s story. Things are good up till now.

That’s when he asks me what kind of medicine I want to practice, and I tell him that I love infectious disease.

I talk about how bacteria in certain towns, or even within certain hospitals, develop resistances to antibiotics and how the choices we make as physicians effects those resistances. I talk about plasmids and spontaneous mutations, vectors and fomites. About the excitement of watching a microscopic diorama of evolution at work.

I talk about the enjoyment I get working with HIV and virulent strains of hepatitis, and about the way the field is changing, incorporating genomics and DNA probes as well as the challenge of genotyping for resistance patterns and potential vaccines.

I again say how much I love infectious disease.

I guess I’m a bit carried away because he’s looking at me—not quite but—almost in horror.

‘I don't love infectious diseases,’ he says, before looking down at the table and adding, ‘I hate them.’

And something’s changed. I try to clarify that I mean I love treating infectious disease rather than the diseases themselves, but it does not seem to sway him.

When we finish the pizza, he says he needs to turn in early.

When he tells me how to get to his house, I try to show him a shortcut, but there’s a dead end where I thought there was a pass-through and it ends up taking us a little out of our way. He doesn’t say anything after that.

When I kiss him goodnight, he removes my hand from his neck. I watch him walk from my car until he is in his home.


Blogger dan writes:

That makes my stomach hurt. It's always sickening to realize that you've said something that changes the way people think about you.

But on the flip side, some people are just too damned sensitive or are unable to put things in the right context.


Blogger jeremy writes:

Just stumbled upon your site tonight--from Dan's site, actually. Its nice to know that other guys are bad dates, too.


Blogger Spider writes:

Sounds like he just lost someone close to him - and isn't ready to talk about it yet...


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