Most of my original patients were someone else’s patients who came to my office because they could not get into their own docs for weeks. People are funny. It wasn’t uncommon for me to have an hour or two wait. My patients rarely complained. They knew I would see them on the day they needed to be seen. The complaints came from the new patients whose docs couldn’t see them for 2 weeks.
Patient “X”: I’ve been waiting 1 hour, how much longer is the doc going to keep me waiting.” When I finally entered the exam room, I got a mouth full. “Mr “X”, I’m sorry I took so long but the patient before you was sick enough to require hospitalization. By the way, one hour is a lot shorter a wait than a couple of weeks. Now, let’s see what we can do for you. Most patients agreed with my logic and eventfully became my patients.
There were those patients who designated a Pediatrician or other primary physician as their MD of record, even though they had not seen him/her for years. The pediatricians were not happy with this arrangement and often drove the patient into my arms. The internists were less vocal but did not like sharing patients either.
By the time I retired, almost all of the docs in the community had open- hours during which patients could be seen without appointments.
When I started in medicine (in the early 80s), almost all docs wore ties. Ties never made sense to me. Wearing a tight noose around your neck while making life altering decisions has always been nuts. I gave up on ties in the early 90s. Since then, studies on the wearing of ties have been shown to carry bacteria and spread disease.
My favorite silly statements are:
Patient’s wife – He said he would never talk to me again if I called the paramedics!
Doc- Did it dawn on you that if he died, y”all would never talk again.
Then there was the obese mother of 4 who had remnants of Oreos under her breast.
Women – My kids are such slobs. They leave crumbs everywhere- They never clean up their mess.
Alcoholic – But doc, I only had 3 drinks!
Doc – What constitutes a drink?
Alcoholic – about 6 ounces of vodka per drink
Doc- Your limit should be none and you need to get into AA
Patient -I don’t smoke. Well, I’ll occasionally have a few.
Doc – How often is occasionally?
Patient-5-6 days a week.
Doc – How many cigarettes are a “few”?
Patient – I meant a few packs a day. OK, you got me. I smoke 1 ½ cartons a week but I am cutting down.
Finally, while delivering an eighteen-year-olds (crowning female) baby in the ER, both the patient and her parents were yelling at me that she WAS NOT pregnant.