He eyed me as I knocked and entered the room to introduce myself. We spoke for a few more minutes as Betty offered advice for the path ahead. Remember to get a pregnancy test on every woman you see.Betty had just been admitted from the emergency department, and I was to collect all of the information I could about her past and current conditions. ’ Everyone my age sees one, and if they tell you they don’t, they’re lying.” It took over an hour. Don’t date the nurses.” When I exited the room the intern looked up from her computer screen.
” But as Betty taught me, it was clear that she was worried about her condition. “Grab a seat.” As phones rang and a steady raucous din filled the ward, the tired young doctor took the time to review my work and walk me through Betty’s condition.She pointed out the opacities on the plain film, pimped me on leukemoid reactions and differentials, and helped me understand the Winter’s Formula magic that I’ve learned and forgotten more than a few times now.Betty has been a nurse longer than I’ve been alive. Every time I’d completed a task, Betty made me do it again, but this time explain to her husband (obviously for my benefit, not his) what I was doing and why I was doing it. The bags under her eyes told the story of a long day, and she winced as her pager cried out again and again.She humored me as I stumbled my way through the beginning of the exam, but her tenacious traits quickly surfaced, and she stopped me. Despite my reluctance to lay her supine, she demanded I do so, otherwise my abdominal exam was “crap, just crap.” She laughed when she saw the school-mandated tuning fork in my bag — “don’t be ridiculous! Still, though, she kicked out the chair that rested next to her.
My patient (we’ll call her Betty) rested comfortably in her bed.
Her husband stood at her side, arms folded tightly against his chest, at once protective and authoritative while apprehensive and concerned. I answered what I could, and assured her that the real doctor would be in as soon as possible.