Exact Transcription

        Except for patient and institution name changes this is an exact transcription of a patient encounter.  It was from a month ago, though, ’cause I did not want to take any chances with a violation of her privacy.   

        “Ms. Smith, What’s your trouble?”

        “Lordy, Lordy, Dr. Bibey.  It’s my old bladder.  I went up there to Tobacco Triangle and they say they can’t operate no more.  They knowed you.  They said you’s a good doctor, and you’d know what to do.”

        “O.K.  Let me see if I got a letter.”

        “He said he’s gonna call you.  Did he not call?  He said he knowd you.”

          “Thank you ma’am.  No, I don’t think he called.”

        “He said he knowd you.”

        “I understand.”  I flipped through the chart.  “So how’s your bladder?”

        “Oh, I’s up all night.  Could you give me that white pill you gave me whenever your kids came out to the farm and looked at the donkeys?”  (My kids are now grown.)

        “Gee Ms. Smith, that was a long time ago.”  I remembered the donkeys, but I could not recall the name of the medicine.  “What was the name of it?”

        “Oh I don’t know, ain’t you got a list?  It was that white one.  Hmm.  Maybe it was pink.”  She turned to the lady who brought her.  “Was it white or pink, honey?”  Her friend shrugged her shoulders.  She didn’t know.  “Oh, Dr. Bibey.  You know.  That little bitty pill.  It was my when my cousin came in from Greensboro.  The one that died.  What was her name?”

        “I ain’t sure Ms. Smith.”

        “Well, It don’t matter, it think it was pink.”

        Did it start with a “D?”  I asked.

         “Yes sir, I think so.”

         “Well, let me check a specimen.  We’ll see.”

        I checked her and a urine specimen, too.  The diagnosis was bladder infection.  (I think.)  It is now a month later and she is fine, so I guess I was right.

        I tell you guys all that to make sure you know I am in a glamorous business.  It is just like on T.V. huh?  I guess I have job security; few want my job.  It does take a strange sort of personality to sort through all this for decades and not fall asleep at the wheel and miss an aneurysm when it surfaces.  To do it, you’d have to be some cat who wanted to live in the country and pick bluegrass music for a second job.  Sometimes I’m not sure there are enough of them out there, but I persevere on ’cause I think that is what I was put here to do, and I don’t question it.  And I didn’t have it too bad.  To paraphrase John Hartford, at least I didn’t spend my life working in tall buildings- it woulda never done for me.

Dr. B 

Explore posts in the same categories: Advice- Five Cents, Philosophy

12 Comments on “Exact Transcription”

  1. Amber Says:

    Dr. B, Let me match you stories from the opposite end! This was me seeing a doctor who didn’t know me. My regular doctor was out on medical leave herself, and my neurologist was being a pain in my backside and wouldn’t order a simple urine culture for me so that i could start on an anti-biotic. Apparently, she doesn’t know what to look for! LOL!

    Doc: Well Mrs. Amber what can I do for you today?

    Me: I have a UTI

    Doc: Well what leads you to believe that you have a UTI?

    Me: Strong smell, dark urine, burning, frequency, pain, etc.

    Doc: Have you ever had one before?

    Me: Yes. I would suggest a course of Amoxicillin with my medical history and background. Bactrim doesn’t work well for me.

    Doc: Well, we will need to run a test to tell if you have an infection.

    Me: I have an infection. I have a severe infection that has been hanging around for a month or so. You will find that when you take the test and its best that I get started now so that it doesn’t get worse.

    Doc: Well How do you know that you have an infection?

    Me: *Blank Stare* Because I know my body and can tell immediately and know medically what to look for. Been doing this for quite a while now.

    Doc: Ok well Ill run the test and get back to you in a few days.

    Me: Run the test and Ill get back to you in a few hours when the results are posted and I can read them for myself. So we can start on the anti-biotic

    Doc: Well how will you know if you have an infection? Can you read the lab results?

    Me: Yes, Can you?

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Mercy Ms Amber,

    It does work both ways sure enough. One time we had a Doc who was on Staff (for a very short period of time) who asked one of the nurses this one: “If you were going to put this patient on IV fluids, what would you order?”

    It was a very simple case- the Doc didn’t last long. I am happy to say no one waited on a disaster- they got canned soon after that.

    Dr. B

  3. newt221 Says:

    Sounds like what we go through all the time with my parents (mom and step-dad). But, then again, you know I am country born and bred.

    My favorite is when mom decides to go to the doctor because she does not feel well. But, then she expects the doctor to know what is wrong without giving him any information. Then when things don’t help, she is made because he “ought to know” what ails her. My sister has gotten to where she tries to go with mom so the doctor has at least half a chance of getting something right.

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Cndy,

    I love country folks, ’cause I find them the salt of the earth. There is an art to doctoring them, ’cause often they never want to”bother” anyone!

    I tell ’em that’s what I’m here for for heaven’s sake.

    Dr. B

  5. pandemonic Says:

    Yes, but you get paid the big bucks for being a kind doctor… 🙂

    Amber’s comment was hilarious, by the way…

  6. Susan Shay Says:

    Wow, that does sound familiar! My husband has patients who call and say, “Just fill everything I get for me.”

    Or–“I need that pink (or white or purple) pill that I got last year.”

    What’s worse is when they want him to get a transfer from another pharmacy for their “pee pill”. That’s usually a diuretic, but not always. 🙂

    Glad pharmacists aren’t the only ones who have to be mind readers.


  7. drtombibey Says:


    Yep about a get rich scheme, huh? Ain’t Amber a hoot?!

    Dr. B

  8. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Susan,

    I had a feeling the pharmacist would have been there.

    Dr. B

  9. mrschili Says:

    Snort! This happens in MY profession, too, but it’s usually an argument about grades.

    “Mrs. Chili, I’m upset about this grade you gave me” (I love that. The grade I GAVE them, not the grade they EARNED).

    “Well, did you receive a rubric for the assignment?”


    “Did you get that rubric back with my comments on it?”


    “Can you tell me where, exactly, you feel that my assessment of the work you did was wrong given the standards that are on the rubric?”


    “That’s what I thought. Remember, Mrs. Chili has a revise-rewrite policy! Bye, now!”

  10. drtombibey Says:


    This post came to mind partly from reading some of your posts about being a teacher. Communication is so hard, huh?

    Dr. B

  11. Ted Lehmann Says:

    On Saturday morning I walked back to our trailer from the stage area. During this particular festival I wear a bright yellow t-shirt saying “STAFF” on the back. A festival goer asked me whether Staff was my first name or last. I answered, “Maybe it’s the name of the infection I’m carrying.” I think he laughed. – Ted

  12. drtombibey Says:

    Good to hear from you Ted,

    That is too good. I often wonder how folks interpret what I say. We have to be careful huh?

    Dr. B

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: