Saturday, September 3, 2011

Doctor Doctor: Part Two

Pain Management

I went to get a back injection last week. I have to get them periodically for back pain. The doctor is Iranian with just a hint of an accent. He moved to America when he was 4 years old. A very matter-of-fact kind of guy that seems more like a mechanic than a doctor, but he's done over 40,000 of these injections so I like him and have confidence he knows what he's doing. When I went in for the first shot I didn't know what to expect. They had me lie down on my stomach and clipped a little doohickey on my index finger to monitor my heart rate. One would think they were monitoring so that if my heart rate went up they could administer some type of sedative to calm me down. But that was not to be. As I felt the needle going into my back I got nervous and my heart rate did indeed jump up. At that point the doctor yelled at me loudly "CALM DOWN BUDDY!!" which actually worked because I was so shocked I forgot about being nervous.

I have to see him every month now so we're getting to know each other pretty well. On a recent visit he came in to the examination room limping and wearing a medical boot. He said he snapped his Achilles tendon while playing basketball. When I asked why a man of such short stature was playing basketball in the first place he just said "Because I'm stupid. My brain thinks I can still do things my body can't do anymore." Which made me wonder how his body felt about sticking a 6 inch needle within millimeters of my spinal cord.

That led to him telling me about his brother, the dentist. He said his brother asked him if he knew the difference between a doctor and a homeless person. When he admitted he didn't know, his brother said "Three mortgage payments". He then said his brother, having reached this conclusion, bought insurance for his right arm. I asked why just the right arm. He said his brother was right handed and if anything happened to it he would not be able to continue practicing dentistry. I said "Well you better tell him to insure the left one too because I'm not going to a one armed dentist, are you?"

Anesthesiologists Say The Darnedest Things

The wife was going under the knife for a third round of foot surgery. After prepping her in the pre-op room they told me I could come up and sit with her for a few minutes while the doctor got ready.

I was sitting with her in a small area sectioned off with curtains, joined by two female nurses as well as a male nurse and the anesthesiologist, an older man even by our standards. The nurses were all busy filling out forms, checking medication and so forth. I didn't realize it, but I was wearing a shirt I bought at Newport Beach that had a picture on the front of three old time station wagons with wood paneling on the sides of them. The Anesthesiologist looked at me and said "Woodys! Have you ever had one?"

I bit down on my lip, trying not to laugh as three or four possible answers crossed my mind. When I realized there was dead silence, I looked up to see the three nurses had just stopped what they were doing and were staring at me waiting for an answer. Another moment passed as I was trying to decide exactly how inappropriate a humorous response would be. I'm all for being inappropriate but even I have boundaries. Finally, breaking the awkward silence, the male nurse said to me "I think it's best if you just walk away from this one" and so I did.

I don't think doctor "A" ever caught on to what was happening because he went on to tell us he got his first woody when he was a teenager and that his father didn't approve. Every sentence in this conversation begged for a joke but I held my tongue for fear of him being embarrassed to the point that the wife wouldn't wake up from the surgery.


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