Case No. 1: My grape sucking lady
Now, as you are probably all well aware, hospitals are busy places. Very busy. I don’t usually mind, as this makes your days pass incredibly quickly. But this also means that I have to keep going from the moment I arrive until I finally manage to sneak out the door. [Current philosophy: Schedules?! We don’t follow no stinking Schedules!] That’s not to say that this is how the whole hospital works. No. I’m a first year resident (go general residency!!), which means I equate to little more then licensed hard laborer. :)
But anyway, back to what I was saying, I’m scurrying down the hall, intent on fulfilling my duties, when a hand suddenly reaches out grabs the hem of my jacket.
It’s a patient, and she’s moved a room chair outside, so that she could watch people moving about the hall (I’m guessing). And she’s got this bag of grapes. “Would you like one?” she asks. “They’re fresh washed. My husband brings them to me.”
Now I like grapes, I do, but honestly, who would eat after a hospital patent, regardless of what they’re in for. [In for—that makes it sound like some sort of prison. Hmmm.] So of course, I politely tell her no, thank you.
“But they’re healthy,” she insists. “I’ve not had nearly as many problems since I’ve started eating more healthy foods. It’s the junk food that does it to you. I had diarrhea all the time before, but not any more…” And it just went on from there, and on, and on and on.
My question is this: Why Me? I mean, do I look like I suffer from these problems? Was it that she was looking for someone to commiserate with? I don’t know. But I do know that there are days when I feel like someone’s taped a sign to my back that reads: Tell me about the condition of your bowels.
Case No. 2: MD? No! MD? NO! MD? NOOOO!!!
We all have name badges that we can never be with out, for rather obvious reasons. Anyway, my formal title is Dr. [Pharm.D, to be specific]. But a Pharm.D is not an MD. It has nothing to do with a MD. It is a totally separate entity. Different field, different focus (unless you’re /one of those/ people that says the patient is always the focus…/one of those…you people/), but you get the point.
But, with out fail, I walk into Patent X’s room and all they see is Dr. R—and immediately assume that I am a MD, though if they would bother to read the rest of the name they would clearly see the attached Pharm.D. Thus, I repeatedly have this conversation:
Patent X: You’re not my doctor.
Me: No, I’m the pharmacist on call.
Patent X: But you’re a doctor.
Me: Doctor of Pharmacy. I’m actually a pharmacist.
Patent X: So you’re not a doctor?
Me: I’m not a physician.
Patent X: Are you saying there’s a difference?
By now the disbelief in the room is palpable. And if he/she was not fingering the buzzer before hand, they are now.
Me: *soothingly* I’d like to talk to you about the medication’s we’ll be sending you home with.
Patent X: So you are a pharmacist.
Me: *with my best smile* Yes. *A pharmacist who’d like to take a moment to step outside and bang her head against the wall—repeatedly*
That’s not to say that that is how many, or really even most of my patents behave. But every time you get one, you can’t help but remember all of the others. The best was the guy who tried to argue me down.
X: You’re not really a pharmacist, are you.
Me: Well, yes, sir, I am.
X: Don’t lie to me! I’ve got a bother who’s a pharmacist. I know about you people.
Of course your first thought when any classifies you as a “you people” is a heartfelt ARGH! But one learns to quickly move on…eventually…
Me: You have a brother who works as a pharmacist? How interesting! [See—this is where you try to put said patient at ease.]
X: So-and-So’s been a pharmacist for 30 years and he’s no doctor. [And this is where you find out that your calming techniques have fallen far short.]
Me: Well, not every pharmacist has their pharm.D. Now I’ll just take a moment more of you time to go over your med—
X: Are you saying So-and-So’s stupid, because he’s not. He’s smarter than you!
Me: No sir! I don’t have any knowledge of your bother. Fact is that there are many very good pharmacists with out their pharm.D. Now if we could just—
And so forth and so on, you catch my drift. My only hope for this patient (other than that he get better—as I never want to walk into a room and have to argue with him ever again) is that he goes home, tells this so-called bother the whole story and said bother tells him he’s a complete idiot. That’s all I really want.
So what do you say Santa Claus?