Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Questions for the Doctor

[posted by dinah]

I contemplated putting up a post about the most embarrassing questions patients have ever asked, but honestly, I'm too embarrassed to repeat the worst one ( and no, I didn't answer). And I'm not someone who is easily mortified: I will readily admit that I did once show up in clinic wearing my dress inside out, and yes, it was obvious.

So recently, a colleague insisted I was in training with him. I wasn't, in fact, I finished 10 years after he did, and it occurred to me that he thinks I'm 10 years older then I am. Clink says it isn't so: Thank you, Clink. This still wouldn't make me as old as Meryl Streep, whom I look nothing like, but we don't have to go there today.

The day after my time warp with my previously-esteemed colleague, I saw a patient I hadn't seen in a few months. He has a persistent mental illness which limits his life in many respects. He is always pleasant, but always answers my questions with a simple Yes, No, Fine, Okay. He offers little else and I've been unable to learn much about him, though he's seen me in the clinic for many years now. So I asked my patient, as I often do, "Do you have any questions for me?" On this particular day, he asked, "How old are you?" Well, this was a rather sensitive topic given the weird insight the day before that I could be mistaken for someone 10 years older then I am. I responded, "How old do you think I am?" (Please don't tell my former supervisors this, they'll revoke my Boards certification.) Whew: he aged me a few years younger than I am. I answered his question (at this point, why not?) and then he asked, "Do you believe in God?" Okay, I didn't care if he knew how old I was, but enough is enough.

I told the story to Clink, and she responded with one of her own:

So in my clinic this afternoon my inmate patient said to me, "Oh, you're doing Lord of the Rings today.""Huh?" I said."Your dress," he said. "It's like what the elves wore in that movie.""Oh," not knowing what the heck I should say to that. Then I started thinking--yeah, yeah I could get confused with Liv Tyler. Sure, it could happen. At least he was commenting on the dress and not my ears.

And, Roy, what do your patients say about you?

P.S. I can't wait for Fat Doctor's stories.