Monday, January 15, 2007

My Patient Life

I met a very nice young man today. He wore a suit and a tie and a white coat and his hair was neatly trimmed. He took the time to explain to me what a white blood cell count was and how it could show how severe an infection is. He explained what the x-ray showed and why it was important to repeat the x-ray after treatment to make sure the problem wasn't something more serious. He did a very nice job with his patient.

When he came back with my prescription for antibiotics he said, "So, I just noticed that you're a doctor?"

"A forensic psychiatrist," I said, meaning "yes".

I don't use my initials when I'm off-duty. He may have been a bit embarrassed talking like he did to a physician, but I loved it. He did a wonderful job. Given the choice between being a doctor and being a patient I would always prefer to be the doctor, but in situations where I'm the patient I want to be the patient.

A social worker friend suggested that doctors who become patients get better care than "regular" patients, but this guy didn't know until the end of the appointment that I was a physician. I can't say whether I as a physician would treat a physician patient differently because so far I haven't had any doctor-prisoners. Maybe that's something Dinah or Roy could comment on.

Regardless, I'm getting the pneumonia treated. After the past three days lying flat on my back I will have another two days confined to the house avoiding contagion. It would be poor form to be the one to trigger an epidemic in a correctional facility. I will be relying on our readers and my fellow bloggers to keep me from going bonkers with boredom. So far I've only left the house for healthcare and groceries, and I'm going mad, mad, I tell you!