One of our docs has a serious back injury and has been off for a while. He's in a lot of pain and we make no secret of that when we tell his patients what's happening. The vast majority are really good about it but some.....well...witness what I overheard the other day:
Patient: Where's Dr. X?
Receptionist: He's on medical leave.
R: He has a serious back problem and can't work. He's in a lot of pain.
P: But I'm sick.
R: You can see the doc taking his place.
P: No, I want Dr. X. I'm sick and he's my doc.
R: I'm sorry sir, he's sick himself and on medical leave.
P: (angry now) That's unacceptable, I'm his patient and he's my doctor, I have to see him.
I didn't hear the rest, I walked away...but I think the end result is that they are going to "fire" the patient.
Then there was the day that I woke up with a nasty case of the "Royal 3" (n,v & d) and called in sick. The next day one of the patients proceeded to tell me off for not being there yesterday when she came in for her B12 injection. "I hope you're better" she said. "No, I'm still not well" says I, then watch with some satisfaction as she takes one step back. (yes, you would be proud of me...I resisted the urge to cough.
So what is it? Are we medical sorts inhuman and impervious to illness? Do the medical acronyms
we all sport after our names make us somehow resistant to the very bugs and icks that cause our patients to flock our way? If that's the case then I'm missing out on something real big here.
How DO you respond to "you can't be sick, you're my nurse/doc"?
Hold on a sec....let me put on my cape and blue tights. Errr..... on second thought, never mind the tights.