Odd Anecdote 

 Squirrel carved out of the giant trunk of a felled tree. 

“Doc, how are you feeling?” He asks me this every time I see him. His cap is resting at a jaunty angle across the handle of the quad cane standing beside him. He is of the generation that knows it is impolite for a gentleman to wear a hat indoors.

“Great!” I replied, like always. “Thanks for asking. How are YOU feeling? And how is therapy going since your stroke?”

This time, rather than answering the question he squinted at me and said, “Are you sure you feel OK, Doc?”

“Why? Do I look stressed?” Did it show? I thought I was doing a good job of hiding it.

“Nah. You coughed.”

“Oh, that. No worries. I’m fine.” I had picked up an upper respiratory infection from my kids the week before and the cough was lingering.

“Do you know why I ask you how you are feeling every time I see you? Have I told you the story?”

“Noooooo….”

“Years ago before I became your number one patient (I tell everyone I am your number one patient, Doc) I went to see my primary care doctor to follow up on my blood pressure. He was coughing. My wife told him he needed to see a doctor about it because he sounded awful. He told her not to worry, he would be just fine. He kept coughing though and my wife again told him as he was leaving that he needed to see someone. He just laughed, then went into a coughing fit. Two weeks later I go for my follow up appointment and the lady at the front says, ‘Oh, you didn’t hear? He DIED!’ He died, Doc. From pneumonia and congestive heart failure.” 

“Oh.” He stares at me intently. I choke back a cough. Well, then. “Say, how is that therapy going?”

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72 thoughts on “Odd Anecdote 

  1. Doctors make terrible patients. I’ve been in the hospital enough that I’ve run into a few doctor/patients. That said, though they are good at obeying orders – they just need someone to tell them to sit down, shut up and get well. 😀

    And kids – OMG. They are germ buckets. They go to school and trade food and saliva and other body fluids and then bring everything home. So many germs can’t live outside the human body for long that as an adult I am rarely sick (with acquired diseases). When we had kids in the house, it was never ending. After a while, you just roll your eyes and make the trip to the drug store. I know that each time they get sick it builds immunity, but do they have to keep giving it to the adults? You get so used to it, you don’t make any effort to avoid it. Ha! Our girl got the chicken pox the summer she was ten. The doc said to keep her away from other kids and both myself and my wife and her son had all had them before, so that was fine. We told Chantal that she was quarantined – at least we could teach her a new word. She made up all these signs saying “Quarantine – Danger – Keep Out” and posted them in all the windows and on the doors. So her friends came to the door – we had a screen door – and wanted to come in. She and I told them that only the ones who had had chicken pox could come in with parent permission. Dear lord. They all went home and told their parents, who all – every one of them – called and said they wanted us to let their son/daughter in so they could get the chicken pox over the summer and wouldn’t miss any school Eye-Roll Here. So we had all the neighbor hood kids crammed into our house on perfect summer days because they were trying to get the chicken pox while “Quarantine” signs hung n the windows. Some quarantine,. Ha!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m a bit like that though I haven’t experienced the death of a doctor of mine.

    My psychiatrist asks “How are you?” and I try to ask him “How are you doc?” because I read somewhere that doctors have high depression rates and suicide rates and have this irrational worry (I do have GAD) that I’ll lose my doctor to suicide.

    Even though he comes across as happy, loves life…I just have that faint worry that maybe that’s him putting on a happy mask.

    He’s good at it, because he’s really professional, I didn’t even know he lost his dad fairly recently with whom he had a complicated relationship until I was talking about grief and he asked if he could share his personal experience.

    Furthermore he is ab abuse survivor (he had self disclosed in the past to show me he understood my ambivalent feelings towards my upbringing), so I sorta always wonder at the back of my mind if he goes through bouts of suicidal thinking like I do.

    Do, my “How are you, doc?” is this awkward way of trying to see if he’s okay because I want the old doctor happy and healthy because I like him as a person, and really hope he is okay!

    Liked by 1 person

      • True, you are right that as doctors, the professional boundaries are there, and hence he most likely would never share if he was having an awful day.

        But I’m glad for your comment, because perhaps then I have conveyed to him, however awkwardly, that I care!

        May you have patients who care about you as a person! Because you’re one swell person. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Isn’t it nice to find a patient that cares about YOU! My husband got gifts from some of his patients all the time – cakes, collards, fried chicken – it is the South, after all – and loved their devotion!

    Like

  4. Pingback: Monthly Reading Love – Life of Mon

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