I had done a series of posts on 'Matters of Historical Importance' in the months of June, July and August 2009. There were 8 posts in the series. I had run out of stuff to come out with any further sequels. Murli, my friend wanted me to continue with this series. But I didn't have enough material. I am back now. Back with a Crank !
How to use a Thermometer; Innovative Way !
A particularly grumpy old man was already notorious in the wards for his rudeness. He was a 62 year old retired Corporation employee. He considered us the Doctors and the Staff of our hospital a privileged lot to be treating a man like him. He had even managed to ruffle the usually calm senior Physician of our hospital in just one visit.
He was admitted with chest pain and hence was referred to us. Hence I had to see him. I was forewarned by the Ward In-Charge Nurse that this was one real character.
I walked in that afternoon with greetings and these words in Malayalam, "Good afternoon, I am Govind Raj and I am assistant to the Cardiologist. I am here to see why you have chest pain". He shot back, "You are not the Cardiologist. Do you people want to show me to a Junior and charge the Cardiologist's fees ?"
I politely told him, "No, it is like this. I will be seeing you first and we can get the necessary tests and then the Cardiologist can see you with all the reports. That saves time". He snapped, "Whose time ? I am waiting here for the Cardiologist and some junior is coming and wasting my time".
I kept my cool and replied, "See if the Cardiologist has to see you and then order all tests and then review again, he and you both are wasting time. To save that, I am here. I will examine you only if you wish. If not, I will make a move". He graciously consented to be examined by a lowly Junior.
And I proceeded with the history part. I asked, "So you have chest pain. When do you get it and which part does it come ?". He curtly shot back, "I have already told all this to another Doctor who looked much older than you and he has made a note of everything. I am tired of answering you people". I said, "Fine, I shall go through the history".
After reading the admission notes by the Ward Duty Doctor, I started to examine him. Pulse and respiration and then I asked him to show his tongue. He again was rudeness personified, "Even these things are written there. You can refer to those notes."
I was boiling, but had to keep my head and hence took my stethoscope and started to auscultate him. And pat it went with boom boom in my ears. The man was talking now ! I took out the stethoscope and asked him, "What were you telling ?". He said, "Nothing". So I went ahead with auscultation again.
As soon as my stethoscope landed on his chest, he went boom boom again. I took out the stethoscope again, stood erect, took a deep breath and told him, "Please don't talk when I examine. Not only when I examine, but when any Doctor examines you. It hurts our ears".
He made a snorting sound and said, "But you only wanted to know my problem and I was telling you things that I remembered".
I had to clench my teeth when I quipped, "But you didn't tell anything when I asked you the questions". He was now on the offense and said, "See Doctor, I can tell you things only when I remember, not when you ask. I can't tell you when I don't remember". In a state of exasperation, I told him, "I know your history from the file. I just want to examine you. So please keep quite. Let me finish my job".
I kept my stethoscope on his chest and boom boom it went again. I was furious now and almost shouted, "Can't you keep quite ?". He had a smirk on his face now. He was enjoying at my discomfiture and shot back, "I know you juniors have no manners. You don't know how to talk to a senior Corporation employee. Blah blah blah...".
I asked the nurse to bring a thermometer. I kept it in his mouth and then completed my job as he had to shut himself up now. After finishing my notes and instructions, I started to walk out. Then he started to mumble mmmmm with the thermometer in mouth. I turned around and asked the sister to remove the thing from his mouth.
Having harbored the thermometer in his mouth for almost ten minutes he gasped, "Hey Doctor, I didn't have any fever. Why on earth did you check my temperature and you don't even bother to look at it". Now it was my turn to return compliments.
I just said, "Since you have your own ways, I too had to devise a way to deal with you. After all I am a Junior and I have to go and report to my Senior about you. I can't spend an entire day with you. I wasn't checking your fever. I just wanted to check your tongue. Have a great day"
He was extremely polite when I went for the next visit with my Boss and cooperated with all the procedures from then on !