Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Come and listen to my story

I'm writing this while listening to a podcast of Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me, so this post will probably sound best if Carl Kasell reads it to you on your home answering machine. (Yes, I download podcasts of an NPR news quiz show. I know, my coolness is astounding.)

I started working with a new family doctor this week.

Wait wait...maybe I should back up.

For the last three weeks, I have worked with seven different family doctors from the university. I loved working with two of them. I liked working with four of them. The last one moved at the speed of geologic time (thanks, Lolita, for that handy phrase) and working with him was a bit painful. But, all seven of them are good doctors; and, although I won't be going into family medicine, I enjoyed my time with them.

So, that's where I've been. And this week, I started with a new family doctor. Dr. Clampett is in solo practice in small town USA. His patients are poor, white country folks.

Dr. Clampett is a pretty smart guy. Some people think that you can say that of everyone who graduates from medical school. But, as my grandma used to say, not everyone graduates at the top of their class. Dr. Clampett did, though. He's got the honor society certificate on the wall to prove it. The year he finished, he finished on top.

I'm starting to think maybe that was a slow year.

Dr. Clampett knows a lot of facts. He still remembers that 1% of cholecystectomies end up with a biliary leak and that 1.5% of pancreatic cancers are in the head of the pancreas (esoteric general surgery facts he heard way back in med school). Impressive, eh?

But then, he talks about how he wants to treat a patient with a viral upper respiratory infection, and my head begins to spin in complete circles on the top of my shoulders.

The dude is a fan of nebulizer treatments. These are typically used for people with asthma or COPD. Or anyone who walks into his office with a cough.

You say you forgot to ask Santa for a nebulizer machine for Christmas? Don't worry. You can purchase one for (just slightly above) cost from the front office. He legally sells these and the drugs that go in them. His pharmacy license hangs right above his hunting license on his bulletin board. So, if the bronchodilator doesn't work, we'll just take you out back and shoot you.

And as long as we're on the subject of meat. Did you see that note hanging in the waiting room? Mrs. Clampett called this morning and said that Bob and Mary down the street have a hindquarter of beef they're not going to get to. So, if you're interested, let the office staff know and they'll get you the phone number.

And, not to linger too long on the subject of meat, but, while we're here, we might as well talk about the dried sausage.

The otoscope--the light the doctor uses to look in your ears, nose, and throat--has disposable black plastic covers for the end of it. The doctor pulls a little pointy plastic cover off the wall, screws it on the otoscope, looks in your orifices, and then throws away the cover.

Or, he puts it in his pocket.

Why his pocket? Maybe this doesn't gross him out. Maybe Mrs. Clampett likes to pick them out of her dryer filter after she launders his pants. Who knows.

What does this have to do with dried sausage? Well, the doctor snacks on a piece of dried sausage all day. An unwrapped piece of smoked meat. That he keeps in his pocket. The same pocket with the used otoscope covers.

Anyone else just throw up a little?
Come on up front. I've got something I'll sell ya for that nausea.


Maria said...

I keep thinking about how his breath must just...reek. Those meaty things STINK. And if I recall correctly, you get up close and personal a lot in family practice. Do his patients lean away from him a lot?

And that plastic cap thing did make me feel a little throw uppy. practice isn't grabbing you either, huh? What's up next?

Anonymous said...

Eww. We used to have a psychiatrist at the CMHC who would dictate notes in the bathroom. You'd see him walk in talking, and then he'd walk out still talking into the tape recorder. I used to pity the transcriptionist.

Mme Benaut said...

Well Terroni - only your sense of humour is going to get you through this one. If he asks you to fetch something from that pocket, start running ...

Susan said...

This made me laugh so much that when I finished, I read it out loud to Justin (who also downloads Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me). You are among friends.

dive said...

Wow! When capitalism meets medicine.
Scary stuff, T.
This guy's personal habits (together with the hunting thing) make me wonder just what's in his fridge at home. Keep an eye on the bits that get cut out or chopped off. See if they go for incineration or if he takes 'em home in a baggie.

Terroni said...

Up next is internal medicine--a month of ambulatory clinic. So, basically, a lot like more of the same.

nina said...

Terroni said...

It is Gawd's country out here, Nina.

The Shan said...

Hey, I didn't know about wait wait dtm. I'll have to try those. I'm blazing through This American Life like gangbusters so that's a good option. :)
Now I've only worked for dentists and Oral Surgeons, but I've seen the disgusting hygiene practices of one particular dentist that made me vurp big time. He was always holding nasty dentures with his bare hands grinding on them acrylic flying everywhere and him totally rubbing his whole face with his hands while he talked. Ohhh, dentures and rotten teeth are a glove only situation for sure!