Monday, January 19, 2009

First: The Rant!

(Guys, I just know you've all built this up into more than it's gonna be, but...)

I have to say that where you have Doctors, you've got the Doctors they're teaching. And I also have to say that...for the most part, all the Doctors I've seen who are in charge of stuff have been fine. Obviously, they all know what they're doing and what they're talking about, but they're also willing to take a moment to explain to me...the patient...what the hell is going on.

At the bottom end of the spectrum, there's a bunch of really young men and women who I imagine are still students. They're the ones who come in at 7:00am with a list and ask you a bunch of questions. Since one of these idiots left his cheat sheet in my room yesterday, I was able to see that it's just a list of patient names, symptoms, some abbreviated orders, etc. My own little list of orders included "NPO" which for the uninitiated means "Nothing by mouth". Hence my disappointment when three different ones of these Wunderkinds have asked me if I'm "having trouble keeping food down".

Like I said, they're the bottom of the food chain and since they don't get to touch me, I can live with them making mistakes.

Somewhere in the middle are those vaunted individuals who are, in fact, Doctors, but may not yet have scads of experience. For some reason, these individuals are also always followed by a gaggle of students. Their need to be important in front of their students (combined with the fact that they don't have the experience to back it up) manifests itself in being an asshole to me...the patient.

In all fairness, I was pretty doped up my first bunch of days here, so clearly, there are Doctors who introduced themselves and I just don't remember them. Others, I swear, lead in their entourage, tell me depressing shit and then leave. And God-forbid I should ask a question.

Here's how one part of my stay has gone down:

Last Friday: A Gastro-Interologist, and a Surgeon visit to tell me that they "definitely do not want" to insert a catheter to drain the fluid near my pancreas. They see no sign that there's anything wrong with the fluid and they'd just as soon let it go away all on it's own.

Saturday: Another surgeon (with entourage)(let's call him Dieter since he's never introduced himself and he just strikes me that way), comes by and tells me they "definitely want to insert a catheter to drain the fluid near my pancreas". Gastrointerology and my own doctor concurs. When will this happen? I ask? "Oh, as soon as possible. Probably later today."

That is the last I hear from anyone on the subject until 7:00 this morning. Dieter and his friends came breezing in and basically he says, "Ju vill not haf eny type of fud nor drink cross jur lips for months to come und ve'll take anodder CAT scan at de end of de veek to see how jur doink." To which I respond, "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, what's going on with the catheter?"

He looked at me like a particularly loathesome variety of pus (I like to keep Jeff happy), and says, "De cazeter iz off. Dr. ___ from radiology don't tink it's a good idea, so no cazeter". Now, bear in mind, he's looking at me this whole time as if I'm just not bothering to read all the memos as they come down from on high as opposed to the fact that nobody has said two words to me since Saturday.

So I'm sitting there feeling all depressesed when one of the G.I. fellows came in. I haven't figured this part out yet, but he confirmed that I wouldn't be getting the catheter, and that my treatment would be continuing pretty much as they were going (meaning, no food for Nathan).

Ten minutes after he left, my nurse came in and informed me that he'd put me back on a clear liquid diet. (The Mind Boggles). Is there some reason he couldn't just tell me?


Janiece said...

Hey! How'd you get your recent comments widget to work again?

Secret keeper! Your pancreas is probably eating itself to prevent you from sharing the Secret.

But ve haf vays ov making you talk...

Tania said...

NPO - Nulla/Nil/Non Per Os (just in case you cared)

Rant away! I think the more worked up you get, the more fluid from around your pancreas your body will process.

What could I go to get you worked up? I know! Have an order of stinky tofu delivered to your room. Though you've not had anything to chew for so long, you might be tempted. But I don't think so...

Nathan said...


I just noticed that myself. I swear, I didn't do nothin!


I'm declaring a moratorium on even mentioning foods that are foul. Even the mediocre stuff is such a luxury in my mind right now, that I refuse to contemplate that other shit. (Hey, I'm celebrating being on a clear liquid diet!)

vince said...

Zee clear liquid, eet ees gud for ju. Zee cazeter iz eeeefil. Eet iz gute you do not needz one.

Steve Buchheit said...

I say next time they come into the room with the gaggle of students, you do ten minutes of stand-up. Just start going, don't give them a chance to break in.

Or, as they file in, before the doc can start, you could look at the most uncomfortable looking internist and ask them to pull your finger.

"Dude, I'm dying over here, just pull the damn finger already!"

Nathan said...


That last part may count as inflicting pain on a sick person. Not nice.

Anonymous said...

Ranting Nathan! Yay! Non-communicative doctors! Boo!

Ah yes. The new resident with the gaggle of interns.

*Carol nods knowingly, as she is intimately familiar with the running of a hospital, thanks to the many episodes of Scrubs she has watched*