Saturday, July 23, 2011

What's Up, Doc?

Despite the fact that my grandfather was a doctor and I loved him dearly, medical doctors are not my favorite breed of human beings. Many of them are pretentious. Most of them think that their time is more valuable than mine or yours. And, a good many of them would rather be at the country club playing golf that listening to their patients enumerate their ills. The truth is that I don’t respect doctors any more or any less than I respect teachers, food servers, cashiers, airline pilots, or you. This is both the good news and the bad news for doctors with whom I come in contact. It is bad news because I don’t put them on a pedestal and worship the ground on which they practice. It’s good news because I recognize that they are human like you and me and can’t perform miracles.
Having said all this, I do have several doctors that I like and respect. Both my dermatologist and the surgeon who removed the skin cancer on my arm a few years back are awesome. Based on my personal experience they are fine medical professionals, but this is not why I think they are awesome. They earned this praise from me because they have a great sense of humor. If a doctor has no sense of humor, he or she is not the one for me. I put them all to the test first crack out of the barrel.
When I had my pre-op visit with the surgeon regarding the removal of the skin cancer, he went through all of the possibilities - if we do this the incision will be this big; if we have to do this it will be a little bigger. I told him that I wanted the scar to look like a Smiley face. He promised me that he would do his best. When I came out of recovery he greeted me with an apology that the incision more resembled a “whatever” face so he drew a smiley face on the bandage as consolation. I was amused and he earned my respect.
Nurses are even more uptight than doctors. It is my experience that wit and a sense of humor are detrimental attributes for those applying to nursing school. Knowing this, I love to harass nurses, especially those that work for pretentious doctors. Here is an example.
When I first was diagnosed with lupus I was seeing a well respected rheumatologist in Dallas. His waiting room was always packed with people who sat for an average of three or four hours to spend fifteen minutes with him. He is one of those who thinks that his time is more valuable that mine. As is often the case, his nurse does the routine vitals when you finally get to the exam room. On my first visit she sent me to the restroom to give the obligatory urine sample. She didn’t give me the usual instructions. You all know what those are. When I looked around the bathroom I saw that there were both paper cups and plastic containers. Unsure of which to use, I stuck my head out and asked her if she would lprefer this in paper or plastic. Rolling her eyes and preceding her response with a grand sigh she muttered “plastic.” She was not amused and I was not impressed. I don’t see this doctor anymore. My choice; they actually didn’t kick me out.
I had a similar encounter with a nurse when I had my skin cancer surgery. As part of the pre-op procedures she had to do a pregnancy test. I told her that if it were positive I would be rich since I could sue the doctor who had done my tubal ligation and it would be an immaculate conception. Her only response was “the sooner you cooperate and get this done the sooner we can get you in and out of here.” Okay then. Definitely no sense of humor and possibly no personality of which to speak.
Weber had cataract surgery last week. The doctor who performed the surgery is the ophthalmologist that he has seen since he was fourteen and whom he greatly admires and respects. I had met him once, very briefly, but did not see him the morning of the surgery. I did however have my customary fun with one of the surgery center nurses.
For some reason when they took Weber into surgery they left his street shoes on rather than giving him a pair of those $99 hospital footies. So, when I met him in recovery he had on a hospital gown and his Toms. In her most serious voice the recovery nurse told me that he was awake and I could talk to him. The sight of him in the hospital gown and his shoes made me laugh. The first thing I said to him was, “Wow, if you were going to wear a dress you should have shaved your legs.” He smiled. As usual, the nurse was not amused.
He came home with a hard plastic shield taped to his eye. It was kind of an injured pirate look. I decided that we needed to have a little fun with the look so we found pictures of eyeballs on the Internet, printed them, cut one out and stuck it to the patch.

I asked Weber if he thought that his doctor had a sense of humor. He said that he thought so but wasn’t sure. You know what’s coming next. I was going to find out for sure. We left the eyeball on the patch when we went the next day for his post-op visit. As he signed in at the office the reception giggled. She passed the test. The tech who did the initial questioning in the exam room was not amused. She failed the test. The doctor got a good laugh and greatly appreciated our sense of whimsy. So much so that he had me text to him the picture that I had taken so that he could show it to his wife. It was hard for me to imagine that in forty plus years of practice that he had never had a patient do something like this; but, that seems to have been the case. This doctor moved way up on my acceptable doctor list!

New Look, Same "Stuff"

I started this blog on December 27, 2006, a day before my 45th birthday.  If you do the math, on December 28th of this year All In A Day will be five years old and I will be fifty.  What better way to celebrate both of those monumental anniversaries than to give my blog a makeover.  So, why did I do it today, July 23rd?  The simplest answer is because I could.  It is too hot here to do anything outside.  Even getting in the car and going someplace that is air conditioned does not have much appeal. I could think of no better  way to spend a hundred plus degree Saturday afternoon than wasting time working on the computer.
Nothing has changed here except the look.  For good or for ill the content will remain the same.  I wish I could tell you more specifically what that means but I really can’t.  Someone asked me the other day what I write about on my blog.  My response, “Stuff.”  Makes me sound real smart, huh?  I thought for a moment and elaborated by telling her that I write about things I find interesting, funny, sad, scary, intriguing, stupid, edifying, exciting, joyful and worthy of sharing.  If you are reading this, hopefully you agree and this is why you are here.
Thanks for being here!