“How are you?” Dr. Christy said as she entered the examination room. I could tell she was happy to see me. I was happy to see her, too.
“Good!” I said, “well maybe….”
“Well yeah, there’s a reason you’re here,” she laughed. (Of course she laughed. See an earlier post called The Good Doctor.)
“Right,” I said, “so it couldn’t be all good.”
“So what’s going on, Andrea?”
“Well, I’ve been nauseous for about two weeks. If I weren’t 56 years old, I’d swear I was pregnant. I’m concerned that it might have something to do with that umbilical hernia you diagnosed that we decided not to treat just yet so I thought I better come see you.”
“Hmmmm,” she murmured. She was thinking and typing. She types everything I say into her laptop computer, which I love because I know it means she’s keeping good records on me. “Do you have any cramping?”
“Nope,” I said, “just nausea.”
“Yeah,” she said, “the hernia would cause cramping, not nausea. And I was reading your chart this morning before you came in and the one prescription drug you take and the OTC drugs you are on for allergies would not cause nausea.”
“What?” I blurted out.
“What?” she looked surprised.
“You read my chart this morning?!” I was shocked. “Oh my gosh, Dr. Christy, thank-you!!”
“For what?” she looked bewildered. “What are you thanking me for?”
She has not invited me to use her first name and when I really respect a doctor (which is kinda rare,) I like to call them Dr. so and so out of respect until I get that invitation. And I don’t care so much whether I get the invitation or not. Medical school is a huge commitment and a lot of work and they deserve to be called Dr. if that’s what they want. However after this question, I spontaneously blurted her first name.
“Melody!” I said, “do you know how many doctors I’ve had over the years who make it completely obvious when they walk in the room that not only have they not read my chart, they don’t remember who I am, anything about me or what my medical history is? I’ve known for years that when I hear the doctor on the other side of the closed door take my chart off that little chart holder attached to the door that it’s the first time they’ve so much as glanced at it in months. And because 30 seconds after I hear the chart holder noise, the little knock/come in the room thing happens so how much could they have really read!?” I ranted.
“Then,” I raved on, “I have to spend the next 20 minutes accommodating them while they fumble around verbally trying to recall who the heck I am and what my deal is. Oh, right, they might finally say, you’re the one with the umbilical hernia. It’s an OUTRAGE, so yes, thank you for reading my chart this morning, Dr. Christy!”
Dr. Christy is incredibly unpretentious and she just laughed.
“Do you take pain relievers like Aleve or Ibuprofen or anything?” she was getting back to the nausea thing.
“No, I don’t take that stuff, just plain old aspirin. And I don’t take it often but I have been having a little trouble with my low back and have been taking it for the past 2 weeks or so.”
“Yeah,” she said, “that’s probably what’s causing the nausea.” She went on to explain how aspirin might aggravate another little situation I have going on and she told me to quit taking it until the nausea subsided. “Lay back” she then said, “let’s check that hernia and push it back in.” I lay back, pulled up my shirt so she could get to my belly button and she started pushing and prodding.
“Why are you fighting me?” she said smiling, “relax your stomach muscles for me.”
“Oh, sorry,” I said, “I’m trying to seem skinny.”
“You are skinny!” she smiled. I relaxed my stomach muscles.
“You know,” she said after a while, “I can’t push it back in this time, and it wasn’t so long ago that I could and that bugs me. I’m going to refer you to a surgeon and I think you should go talk to her about getting this fixed.
“So, you think I should have the surgery now?” I asked.
“Yes, I do,” she replied.
“Okay, but Doc, if I have to go under general anesthesia anyway, can we work it out so I can have a face lift at the same time?”
Dr. Christy laughed.