Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Questions for the Doctor

[posted by dinah]

I contemplated putting up a post about the most embarrassing questions patients have ever asked, but honestly, I'm too embarrassed to repeat the worst one ( and no, I didn't answer). And I'm not someone who is easily mortified: I will readily admit that I did once show up in clinic wearing my dress inside out, and yes, it was obvious.

So recently, a colleague insisted I was in training with him. I wasn't, in fact, I finished 10 years after he did, and it occurred to me that he thinks I'm 10 years older then I am. Clink says it isn't so: Thank you, Clink. This still wouldn't make me as old as Meryl Streep, whom I look nothing like, but we don't have to go there today.

The day after my time warp with my previously-esteemed colleague, I saw a patient I hadn't seen in a few months. He has a persistent mental illness which limits his life in many respects. He is always pleasant, but always answers my questions with a simple Yes, No, Fine, Okay. He offers little else and I've been unable to learn much about him, though he's seen me in the clinic for many years now. So I asked my patient, as I often do, "Do you have any questions for me?" On this particular day, he asked, "How old are you?" Well, this was a rather sensitive topic given the weird insight the day before that I could be mistaken for someone 10 years older then I am. I responded, "How old do you think I am?" (Please don't tell my former supervisors this, they'll revoke my Boards certification.) Whew: he aged me a few years younger than I am. I answered his question (at this point, why not?) and then he asked, "Do you believe in God?" Okay, I didn't care if he knew how old I was, but enough is enough.

I told the story to Clink, and she responded with one of her own:

So in my clinic this afternoon my inmate patient said to me, "Oh, you're doing Lord of the Rings today.""Huh?" I said."Your dress," he said. "It's like what the elves wore in that movie.""Oh," not knowing what the heck I should say to that. Then I started thinking--yeah, yeah I could get confused with Liv Tyler. Sure, it could happen. At least he was commenting on the dress and not my ears.

And, Roy, what do your patients say about you?

P.S. I can't wait for Fat Doctor's stories.


NeoNurseChic said...

I didn't mean you were as old as Meryl Streep. Oy vey...

Today I asked my psychiatrist if he had ever had therapy.

This is a big step for me. I don't ask questions. Ever. I think that's only the 2nd or 3rd question I have asked him in over 2 years of working together. Asking questions makes me feel incredibly anxious and I don't like it. It took a lot for me to ask that...but I did. And I still don't know the answer, although I have my own suspicions.

Must go clean off my bed so I can sleep. My bed here is a lot more comfortable than my bed in my parents' house - looking forward to sleep - not looking forward to getting up in the morning to go to work!

DrivingMissMolly said...

When I was seeing the PGY-3 resident at the university health center where I was working on my Master's, I noticed one afternoon that my Dr. R. had his hand stamped. It was his right hand and it said "Kiss."

I remember thinking; "Hmmm, clubbing on a Thursday night..." I always saw him on Fridays and I don't think he had to be there until noon.

Anyway, he noticed that I noticed and hid his hand. Hahhahhahhahha. Too late! He seemd a little embarrassed.

I liked to imagine him shaking his groove thing as only a youngster can on a worknight...


On another note, I worked up the courage to ask new shrink, Dr M. who I know is 62 because I checked the medical board site before I saw him, if he was planning on retiring soon or moving on to a better position somewhere else. I was surprised that he totally addressed my question. It's not sheer nosiness, it's just that I don't want him to leave me.

Anonymous said...

EEK, Ha ha I love you hanid, I was laughing so hard about the dress inside out. Believe me I have done things like this many times. One of the worst was showing up at the doctor's office with my son (who is six autistic and does NOT put on his own shoes)with his shoes on the wrong feet. I felt like a pretty spaced mother. abf


If you think wearing your dress inside-out to clinic is bad, let me tell you the story of my very first job interview as a teenager. I thought the interview had gone really well, and then in closing she said: "by the way, do you know that your sweater is inside-out?" Aaaarrrgh!!

I got the job though. :D

Sarebear said...

About once every five weeks or so I end up wearing a shirt inside out or something and not knowing for half to most of the day!

I did that at my last iatrist appointment. Can you say scatterbrain? Lol.

Steve & Barb said...

I don't know what my pts say about me, but I will self-disclose here...

2 weeks ago, after getting home from work and changing my clothes, I realized that I hadn't removed that little paper tag that the dry cleaners put on your shirt on a lower buttonhole so they know who it belongs to. I don't know if my tie covered it up or not, but I suspect that most people I encounter at the hospital would not have pointed it out if they saw it.

Embarrassing, maybe, but I just rationalize it as being typical for an absent-minded professor-type.

I also occasionally have mismatched socks, but they are close enough that probably noone notices.

Anonymous said...

So, Roy, no stories about questions patients have asked you? Maybe I should have done two posts: Questions for the Doctor and my Most Embarrassing Moment (never!) ...actually my only point about the inside out dress was that I don't embarrass easily.

Today a patient asked me if his views on God bothered me. God is popular this week.

ClinkShrink said...

The most popular Question For The Doctor in my clinic is: "Are you married?" followed closely by: "Do you have a practice on the outside?" Prisoners are nothing if not predictable.

Most Unusual Question: "Will you marry me?" Asked by a convicted murderer/devil worshipper with a good sense of humor. (I declined, citing religious differences.)

And now we've established that my co-bloggers and several readers have clothing disarray disorder (CDD). I've heard that caffeine and dark chocolate has some protective effects for this.

Sarebear said...

chocolate. . . . (said in my best Homer Simpson beer or donut craving voice possible)

Anonymous said...

The most common question I was asked when I was doing my practicum in a general psychiatry ward, was: "what did you do that for?". They meant my pearced lip :). The question came from both patients and staff. My usual response for the patient was: "it's a fashion thing, same as earings", and for the staff: "It's my oral fixation".

Probably the most embarassing question I've ever been asked by a patient was "Are they real?", about my, say, atributes. I said "yes" and moved on. Later my supervisor informed me, that that was the way patiens and some of the male staff [sic!] identified me in conversations (" know, the one with big..."). Gosh...

Fat Doctor said...

1) Are you pregnant?
2) When are you due?
3) What will you name your baby?
4) Is it a boy or a girl?
5) Are you carrying twins?
6) Is this your first baby?
7) How proud is the daddy?
8) Are you planning an epidural?
9) Who's your obstetrician?
10)Have you considered switching to maternity clothes now that you're so far along?

All of these are true.

I looooove to respond, calmly, "Oh, I'm not pregnant, I'm just really fat." People want to die and it gives me immense pleasure to watch!

I read the post, Dinah, just missed the little thing at the end about me. How awkward - usually I hone right in on all things me.

Gerbil said...

I was once asked whether I like to be on the receiving end of cunnilingus. (Believe it or not, my client wasn't trying to get with me.)

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I replied that I'm happy to talk about some aspects of being lesbian, but some topics are just too personal for this setting--and my sex life is one of them.

Sarebear said...

Very funny, clink! Eeeeek! on those last three.


This is sort of a medical/funny thing, altho not in a medical setting.

The day my daughter finds a new playmate, and they are out on the front lawn of the apartment, in a popup playhut playhouse, and I hear her, me sitting their stunned and mouth dropped open, as she plays "labor" for about 5 seconds and then "has the baby". And then the new playmate joins in, and her mom is standing 5 feet away (thankfully distracted on a cell phone call).

I blogged about it awhile back, but I didn't know whether to laugh, shout, cry, or whatnot, lol!