Things You Don’t Want to Hear in Your Doctor’s Office

B-52 noseart
Image via Wikipedia

Before Shaun went to the orthopedic surgeon, she had to go to our regular doctor.  Some sort of insurance rule. The day after the accident, the staff squeezed her in at the end of the day. Really nice.

The doctor came in, smiling.  She looks down at the chart, and then up at Shaun.

Thing #1:

“So what happened?”, she says.

We look at each other. Um. ER report? They faxed the x-rays and test results to her office while we were still in the ER.

Shaun dutifully explains.

“Ow”, says the doc, wrinkling her nose at the horror of it, and distractedly shaking her finger, “I bet that hurt.”

Shaun, nodded, asking, “Did you read the x-rays? They couldn’t tell if it was fractured”. She hopes this doctor might be able to give her an answer.

Thing #2:

“Ewwww”, the doc shudders, “X-rays? No, of course not. I can’t look at the pictures.  I’d be sick”, she laughs, stares at her finger, adds, “I read the report.”

We look at each other. A doctor who gets queasy over an x-ray of a dislocated thumb? How did she make it out of medical school?

Thing #3:

“Excuse me”, the doctor says, “this really hurts, I’m afraid I have to deal with it before I see you”.

We stare at her blankly.  Shaun can’t take the medication the ER prescribed for pain: it’s clear she’s allergic. She’s in a lot of pain, and covered in hives.

Thing #4:

“Paper cut”, Dr. says, holding up her finger, so we can see.  “This little sucker  hurts like the dickens.  I’ll be right back.”

She leaves.

We don’t speak. Did she just leave a patient in pain, with a hand the size of a lamb shank, because she had a paper cut?

Shaun can feel me winding up.  “Down, girl”, she says.  “I can’t deal with that and you going off”.


I imagine chasing the doctor with a sheet of printer paper, slicing edge forward. I clamp my mouth shut. Getting mouthy will lengthen the process of Shaun becoming pain free.

The doctor returns, wrapping a Bugs Bunny band-aid around her finger. “Sorry, I know it’s stupid, but these things really hurt!” She has a hard time wrenching her attention back to Shaun: her eyes keep straying to Bugs Bunny.

Shaun stares at her.

“Nothing like yours though, of course!”, she adds, hastily.

I back down. The woman has shame. I do an emotional reboot.

Shaun asks if there is something she can take that won’t give her  hives.  The doctor says, “yes, there is”. We leave with a new prescription.

In the car, we turn to each other while I crank the engine, and say simultaneously: paper cut?!? and start giggling. Shaun says, “Seriously? I can’t actually LOOK at your x-rays, because I’ll throw UP?”

(If there was a disaster calendar, it was hidden, or we were both too deeply in shock to notice.)

21 thoughts on “Things You Don’t Want to Hear in Your Doctor’s Office

  1. Wow! I’m still sitting here with my mouth agape. I don’t know what surprises me more, her complaint that a paper cut hurt so bad or that she came back with a Bugs Bunny bandaid. I, too, would just be winding up for nice piece of her like you were Jane!

    My doctor still likes to give me a lecture of why I shouldn’t ride anymore after my accident in September (I’m the one that broke 7 ribs lol) whenever I happen to go in for something completely unrelated. Doctors…maybe kinda like men…can’t live with or without ’em!

    Glad to hear Shaun is on the mend though 🙂

  2. I can only hope you took a great deal of creative liberties with this post…..Good Lord. What is our country coming to?! My faith in the medical system is just about as strong as the political system anymore….

    1. I hate to admit it, but I actually left some stuff out! No creative liberty, sadly. I think she meant well, maybe it was just a bad empathy day. I suppose doctors have them, when they see crisis after crisis? Forget the person in front of them might be suffering?

    1. HAHAHAHAhahehehehehehe – you got me!! Diet coke, all over the keyboard. I vote we send her a nice *crisp* calendar anonymously. 😉

  3. I have a painful and incurable bladder disease. These are two things the SAME urologist said. At first diagnosis: “I’d rather treat someone with bladder cancer than with your problem.” Several appointments later: “Cystitis is pretty much like having tennis elbow.” Me (bewildered, thinking about idiot doc’s earlier harsh cancer analogy): “Yeah, except if you have tennis elbow, you can just stop playing tennis…right?” Him: “Probably.”

    Yeah, probably.

    And re Shaun’s doc…now there is someone who needs a horse. Nothing like getting stepped on, thrown, and accidentally bonked by a 1,000 lb. animal to put a paper cut in perspective.

    1. I think your doctor wins the “Most Tactful” Award. (NOT)
      If we follow his reasoning, tennis elbow is worse than bladder cancer…
      Someone please tell us a good doctor story, quick!!

      1. Good story:
        My doctor isn’t a horse person, but listens to his patients. He’s done a great job working with me to get me breathing well enough to both feed hay AND ride in the same day, understanding that since I won’t avoid the asthma triggers I need something to minimize effects.

        I just got over being very sick, in the unable to function due to fatigue, but no other real symptoms kind of sick. I didn’t ride for 8 weeks. When I was at his office on week 2 of not riding, I told him “I haven’t spent more than 30 minutes with the horses or ridden in two weeks.” He turned pale and said “that’s REALLY not like you; we’re going to have to get a lot of tests done to try to figure out what’s wrong.” Several weeks later I had bloodwork done and my cholesterol levels had gotten too high. He said “well, they were good previously, so are clearly affected by diet and exercise. They’re low enough that I’m sure once we get you better they’ll go down from your work with the horses.”

        This would be a doctor who understands what it is for his patients to have a passion, and that if that passion means exercise, the patients stay healthier… and how to recognize something is deeply wrong, even without any typical huge red flag problems.

        1. Oh thank you! We needed a good doctor story. My old doc was like that, she is the BEST. I SO wish I could still see her. She stopped taking any kind of insurance at all. 😦 And I’m sorry you are going through this. That kind of fatigue is beyond debilitating. Hope you recover completely, and quickly!

  4. oh good lord. My husband would have been like Shaun (telling me to back down). She clearly is an idiot and I would find a new one ASAP. When I worked in acute care there were doctors that we (staff) would identify that if we were in the hospital and under their care our colleagues were to smother us with a pillow. We figured it would a less painful procedure. My personal favourite was a doctor who didn’t believe our diagnosis that the patient was unable to eat my mouth because he would aspirate (food enter lungs). He wrote in the notes that the nurse should feed the patient peanuts and then x-ray him later to see if they were in the lungs.

  5. Wonder how she’d deal with an abscessed hoof or a nasty case of pigeon fever or thrush? Really she can’t look at an x-ray?

    i am giggling at the thought of you chasing her with a sheet of paper LOL.

    1. I can threaten her into giving us referrals to doctors who know what they’re doing, simply by advancing with a sheet of paper! I should say, she WAS laughing at herself at least. Imagine if I showed up with a pack of printer paper….

  6. Sounds a bit like a job interview I had recently. Turns out my interviewer had not even read my CV and according to him, a post-it (or sticky note) project management wall was a really good idea. Unfortunately I had no other choice but to take that one….

    Unprepared and unable people should have been shown out of the door in .. I don’t know, job interview or.. in your doctor’s case, med school. *nod*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s