Saturday, November 8, 2008

His name is Hippo

It was one of the last warm days we'll have this year. We were rounding on the patients in the PICU, standing over the bed of a little girl with asthma. After he got done listening to her breathe, the attending physician put down his stethescope and picked up the stuffed animal that was standing sentry on her lap. It was a yellow hippopotamus with hippo embroidered on its side.

"Who's this?" he asked.

"That's my hippo," she said.

"What's his name?"

"Hippo," she said. Duh.

"Have you seen the hippos at our zoo?"

"No," she said.

"Have you ever been to our zoo?" he asked.

"Nope," she said.

Turning to her mother, he said, "You need to take her to the zoo."

Her mother laughed a little.

"I mean it!" he said. Pointing his finger at the woman, he barked, "When she gets out of here, you take her to the zoo!" The woman was a bit taken aback. She didn't expect to be yelled at 7am for failing to show her daughter the town's wild animals in captivity. The lecture about the importance of refilling her kid's inhaler prescription, that one she might have been expecting. But this, this was new.

Then, turning to me, he asked, "Have you been to our zoo."

I briefly considered lying, but thought better of it. He would have seen the shifty look in my eyes and asked follow up questions, quizzing me on my last visit. I would have been exposed in no time. I could just picture him screaming about how the only thing that's worse than medical students who don't go to the zoo is medical students who pretend like they go to the zoo.

"No," I said, "I haven't."

"You've NEVER been to our zoo?"

Bracing myself, I repeated, "No, I've never been to the zoo."

"Well, GO TO THE ZOO." he bellowed. "We have a great zoo. When you go, go see the hippoquarium. It's one of the only places in the world where you can see hippos under water."

"Okay. I'll do that."

"No," he said. "TODAY. It's going to be seventy-five degrees! You'll go today." He touched the hippo to the little girl's nose and made a kiss noise. She smiled. Then, he resumed yelling at me. "You'll leave at noon and GO SEE THE HIPPOS."

"Um...okay," I said.

They call this one Hippo...


Amanda said...

awww!!!! haha... this was a great story! I love hippos!!!! I've loved them ever since they were those ballerinas on fantasia... or something like that :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, I loke his enthusiasm but not his approach!

I have read that hippos cause more deaths of humans than any other large animal in Africa. So they are apparently a little less than friendly. And having seen them live on the Serengeti, I'm hear to tell you they are also a little stinky. But cute, I'll grant you that.

gitz said...

that's insane! I love that he totally scared you into going. :)

I will say as weird as the whole thing was, I'm sure it's kind of refreshing after rheumatology to have a doctor actually notice a patient and want them to be happy...


Okay, I wanna go to *that* doctor. Awesome! I love the hippos. I love the zoo. I'm so jealous, but so glad that you were ordered to take a break!

Shan said...

Heehee. Fun story T. Sounds like you might want to keep an eye on the Dr. that prescribes hippo visits to everyone he meets though. LEERY! :)

Maria said...

That is one kick ass photo...

MmeBenaut said...

What a dear little hippo in the photo. I think they grow up into great big hippos though. They do look like they tiptoe when they walk though and they swim really well. They also crap in the water. I know this because I saw it on a TV wildlife program.

Asthma is bad here because of all the pollens and grasses. My nephew recently spent 5 days in hospital after a really bad attack. Scary and most people don't realise that asthma can kill. Great post as always little one.