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.