Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dr. Nut, M.D.

He was a rheumatologist. I went to see him because of some pain I was having. It may have been carpel tunnel syndrome. I cannot remember.
He was Chinese but had been in the country since age 11, but still had a very heavy accent. Spoke very choppily.
When he entered the examining room he immediately set up his laptop on the edge of a raised sink edge. As he typed the laptop was wobbling back and forth. This annoyed me.
He fired off a battery of questions. I started laughing uncontrollably. I did not have the slightest idea how to answer the questions. I said: Usually, when I see a doctor, he examines me and then asks questions.
He said: Questions first, then exam.
Next I sit on the table and he examines my arms.
At this point I had no faith in him.
After the exam, he returns to his wobbly laptop with his back to me.

I said: At one point, someone had recommended surgery for my carpel tunnel syndrome, but I am afraid of surgery and don’t know if it is necessary.
He turns a half turn towards me and says:
Oh it’s nothing. Cut. Cut. Like suicide. Tee Hee.

I’m like HOLY SHIT. An MD just said that to me and then laughed.

I composed myself. Please God let every ounce of assertiveness training I’ve ever had come together at this moment.

I started:
I need to tell you something. When you are in the medical profession, you need to be very careful how and when you use a sense of humor. Saying cut, cut suicide is not really funny. I’m not suicidal, but still it was not funny.

He does not turn. Silence. Maybe it was 30 long seconds or a minute later he turns to me, and says: You’re right. I’m sorry.
He then kept saying he was sorry over and over. The rest of the visit was him apologizing. I imagine he saw his medical career go up in smoke. He handed me some brochure to read and sent me for blood tests and an x-ray, which he said I could get on the spot.

Still going along for the ride, I went to the front desk to ask for an x-ray. Oh you have to make an appointment for an x-ray, call this number. And for my last act, I went to the lab for blood. Oh, you can’t get your blood drawn now, you have to fast.

I never followed up and never went back to him or heard from him. Years later, I heard he was made head of his practice since he was able to see more patients in any given day than any other doctor. Does this not speak volumes about our medical system?? And, my arms and wrists are just fine thank you.