Many of you will remember Jack. Jack worked with me during the busiest years of my practice. Jack and I worked hard and played even harder. We fed on each other’s humor. When we got started, it was hard to stop or rein us in. Hell, a pharm rep once complained to Renee (practice administrator) that our off colored humor needed to be stopped.
Reps who wanted to sell me their products used to bring in lunch for the staff. They pitched their goods while Jack and I ate (which amounted to 10 minutes a day). One day a rep brings in a Heart Bar (supposed to be heart health). I opened the package and immediately thought that the bar looked like shit (literally). I started rolling the bar in my hands and Jack followed my lead. The end product looked like a poo emoji. When placed on the floor, you would swear a dog had left you a gift. It was one very healthy pile of shit.
We had so much fun leaving piles of shit for select patients and students to find. Naturally, while apologizing and cleaning up the mess, we would smell it, “Gee, this stuff smells good,” and then taste it, “Gee, it tastes really good, would you like some?” I’m sure you get the gist. Unfortunately, Heart Bars disappeared, and we found the fart machine.
As mentioned above, I loved teaching. Students of medicine would spend a few months working with me. I would ease them in to various roles within the office including teaching them to do lab work. We kept bottles of Mountain Dew in our desk for just such an occasion. Jack or I would label a urine specimen container with a fake patient name. We would fill it ½ way with flat Mountain Dew and put it in the specimen window, then we would send the student to get it. I loved the look on their face when the dip test showed 4 plus sugar in the urine. We would then discuss the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes. At some point, I would tell the student that, in the olden days, the doc might taste the urine to discern if it had sugar in it.
You got it! I would take a big gulp and offer it to the student. Jack, seeing the grossed-out student would take the specimen cup, finish it and walk off. Juvenile? Yep, certainly was, but fun!
The day to day practice of medicine is one filled with stressful decisions, difficult problems, happiness and loss. There is always an emergency. Occasionally you have to contend with the dead and dying. The beautiful thing about Family Medicine is that the joys of birth and caring for the children balanced the loss associated with death. The childish behavior listed above helped us decompress, get ready and go to the next person in need. I miss Jack, he brought my child out to play.
Tomorrow, I’ll talk about our inner child and the importance of nurturing it.