27 January 2009


I was chatting with a friend in our Karate class tonight. I know him reasonably well, but not much outside of class. We were talking about nothing in particular, and suddenly he gave a little start, and excitedly said, "Hey! I forgot to tell you. I was looking though my dad's medical records, and you were the doc who saw him in the ER last year!"

(I hate these revelations. There's always this sense of dread that the next sentence will be "and he came back the next day with a heart attack," or, "he said you were a total quack.")

"Oh really?" I affected a casual manner, "and how did the encounter turn out?"

"Great! He said you were awesome!"

"Woo-hoo!" (In my best Homer Simpson voice.) "So -- did I get the diagnosis right?"

"Yeah! You admitted him to the hospital and everything!"

"Woo-hoo! Two for two! So what did he turn out to have?"

"Pancreatic cancer."

"Woo-- oh no. That's not a 'woo-hoo' at all."

"No, it isn't. But he's doing fine."

Woo-hoo. Cancer sucks.


  1. hum, yeah, awkward. Several of my patients (the nice ones thank god) live in my apt complex. I am moving in a no less than three people thank me for my care in the ER, some even thanked my mom. Very awkward cause I don't remember them but they certainly remember me. I guess a 6 foot tall nurse is something to remember.

    At least you got the right diagnosis and did the right thing, much preferable to when a family member confronts you for missing something.

  2. Indeed, awkward. Although no more so than the encounter my favorite mortuary driver had, in the grocery store, with someone who said, "I remember you!!! You picked up my mother!!!"

  3. Doesn't pancreatic cancer have a 100% mortality rate in 5 years?


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