Last night, I spoke with another doctor with whom I went to medical school, many moons ago. He was a very funny guy–so funny, in fact, that I couldn’t be in his study group…because his sense of humor broke my powers of concentration too often.
He was the proverbial thorn in the teaching faculty’s side. Whenever their droning got to be unbearable, and this was often, he would prick that balloon and send the poor instructor flying, and scrambling for some kind of retort. The instructors were not very good at the art of verbal sparring, but they could be vindictive, so you didn’t want to be standing right next to him, when they lost their cool.
He and I were assigned to a very strait-laced legacy instructor, for a few months. A legacy is the son, or grandson, of a grandfather, or father, who was an alumnus of this particular medical school. They’re sometimes not even really good doctors, but they sure are full of themselves. This guy was about a “C” as a doctor, but his ego was an “A++.”
A woman came to us who had a problem with her butt. The instructor brusquely asked her a few questions and prescribed suppositories.
The next week she was back, and her problem was even worse. The instructor repeated his previous performance.
The next week she was back again, and now, her a$$ was inflamed. The instructor was baffled, and wrote a scrip, sending her to a proctologist.
This is where my friend butted in (you should pardon the expression), and asked for permission to do
his own examination. The instructor told him, “Sure…do your own exam, and be sure to double check on all my patients.”
My friend was nonplussed and took the woman into an exam room.
A few minutes later I could could hear him laughing, and laughing, and then I heard the woman laughing. The laughter went on and on, and then he came out of the exam room. He gave me the high sign, and we retreated to a stairwell, where he kept laughing.
Finally he calmed down enough to tell the story.
The instructor has told the woman to take “these things” and put them where the moon don’t shine.
The woman wasn’t exactly a rocket scientist, and he needed to be a tetch more friendly in his instructions. The suppositories came in packets, much like how Nyquil is packaged today. The woman broke off a suppository, then put it where it was supposed to go…but without taking it out of the packaging!
As you might expect, we didn’t leave the stairwell for quite a while, and when we did, our instructor was not amused. He did however, make a mistake when he asked my friend how his diagnosis went. We were standing in the middle of the crowded hall, and he demanded the story.
What he got was a comedy routine that rivaled anything I have ever seen, with my friend playing all the roles. It drew quite a crowd, and when the punchline came, the roars were so loud you would have thought a pride of lions had just descended.
After that incident, our legacy instructor pretty much left us on our own, and gave us high marks, to boot. The story pretty much became a legend in the hospital, and was told to every last intern who crossed paths there.
The lesson here is that we could save ourselves a lot of toil, time, and trouble if we just read the instructions.
Those suppositories had instructions in the box.
The doctor’s advice could have been better.
But then, we wouldn’t have had this great story.