I loathe Sunday duties. Even though its just from 9am till 11.30am, merely 2 and a half hours long, but convert that into Sunday timing,it feels like 2 and a half months. Still, despite what I call my occupational hazard, working on a time normally you roll around in bed enjoying the mornings that seem to last all afternoon, it's almost impossible not to feel resentment at all. But I try my best to sound up beat. Then again, I'm merely human.
A patient walked in after being called by the nurse.
Me : Good Morning !! Waited for patient to be seated then continued, "How may I help you today?"
Patient: "I have a very sore throat. It's been three days..."
Me : "Oh dear, any fever, running nose or coughing yet?"
Patient : "No..I just feel irritation in my throat"
Me : " What's that scar all about? ", I pointed to his neck.
Patient : "It's an old scar,it's nothing to do with the sore throat." It's not so much of what he said, it's how he said it. Like I'm wasting his time to diagnose his disease. Well, some people do have the art of describing an upper respiratory tract infection as though they are suffering from cancer of the throat. Some just need to be told that they are not okay, and have something more than what it seemed. This guy just wanted antibiotics I guess. It's as though anitbiotics is the answer to all medical prayers...ppaaahh!!
Hmm..just what I needed, a smarty pants on a bloody Sunday morning for my first patient. From that point onwards, the patient had single-handedly managed to switch the mild mannered Dr Jekyl in me, into the old version of Dr House, a.k.a. Dr Hyde...and well, he just had to put with the consequences of his rudeness.
Me already in Dr Hyde mode : "Oh, it could be related because some scars could lead to internal scars and insidiously habour susceptibility to debilitating diseases such as trauma induce cancers. " . Of course I can see that he did not really catch the bombastic words thrown in, but that is the fun part, watching a smarty pants get stripped off that pants.
I saw his pupils slowly dilating and thought to myself, hmmh....the trauma reaction to my bitchiness is too slow to call it fun, why don't I add some catalyst/ enhancer, then resumed,
" I had a patient who came in with symptoms of just coughing. For months he coughed and coughed and coughed, and he had seen a few specialists. One of them actually diagnosed him with asthma, which I thought was rather funny since he had no family history of asthma and he was not adopted either. Even specialists don't get it right all the time you know." I paused to check his reactions.
" A couple courses of potent antibiotics and a dozen of cough linctus later, he saw me and I palpated his tummy to see if there's anything in there. My hand felt a mass in his tummy of which turned out to be a malignant cancer in his stomach that had irritated his diagphram hence the persistent cough for past 4 months. It was stage four and he died hardly 3 months after that. Who would have thought eh? You cough and it turned out to be cancer, not in your lungs, but in your tummy."
Oh, finally it was working, because I could see the color had left his face. . And I felt avenged, smug and ready to switch back to Dr Hyde mode. Frankly, I don't like being Hyde, but he does come in handy when I need to shut some smart mouth up.
Patient : "Waa....can like that one ah?"
Me in transition mode back to Dr Jekyl : "That's why we doctors had to go through 5 grueling years in Medical School. So that we won't miss this little details"..paused and added, "Why you look pale.........."
Lesson of the day:
1. Try not to work on a Sunday
2. Really, don't work on Sundays
3. Don't try to be a smarty pants with a Smartier pants...they do what they do for a living. Even during a sleepwalk, they can do their jobs well. Talk about night terrrrrer.... that is why you have to go see them to ask for consultation. I don't even attempt to be smart when I deal with my lawyer....:->
4. Don't work on Sundays, period.
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