Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Moment Of Clarity

Although the name on the chart was oddly familiar I couldn't place her. I was covering for a partner who was on vacation. It felt like my day would never end.

When she bopped into the office I knew immediately. We went to school together. Years ago. She sat down quietly on the exam table typing away on her mobile phone. I approached cautiously my mind musing on occupational hazards. I wondered if she would recognize me.

As I introduced myself I searched her countenance for signs of familiarity. I quickly realized that she was too busy talking to even notice. She was a classic example of today's connected youth. She grew up in the email/text message generation. Conversations were more a one way soliloquy then a rational bidirectional exchange of information.

I found myself only half listening as she continued to harangue me with unimportant non sequiturs. Please be a a low back pain.

I awoke from my reverie horrified by the one phrase that struck terror down to the core of my being.... I'm having a little itch and the way do we know each other?.

I brushed off her question and entered doctor mode. This is what I trained for. If I could run a code and make life changing decisions I certainly could pretend I didn't know a young woman I was doing a pelvic on. (Wow...did I really just write that!)

I handed her a gown and left the room to collect an assistant. This was one exam I wouldn't be doing solo.

When I returned the technician had placed her on the exam table. Her legs were up in stirrups and her gown was folded over. Smack dab in the center of the commotion was the chair of honor reserved for yours truly. I donned a pair of gloves and inspected the speculum. As I sat down my medical assistant stood above me...ready.

And their laid our patient. Fingers tapping away at her cell phone as she continued to talk at random. She urgently chewed a piece of gum that appeared in her mouth as quickly as her clothes came off.

While placing the speculum and collecting samples I froze. Oh...I know! We went to high school together!

All of the sudden the room became unbearably hot. My face burned a shade of crimson. The medical assistant bit her lip and squeezed my shoulder tightly in order to stem the tide of laughter. Yes....yes...maybe.

I quickly finished the pelvic and left the room to send the specimens to the lab. Upon returning my patient had fully dressed. As I explained my findings I could barely look her in the eyes. With great embarrassment I gave her a script to treat a yeast infection and rushed out the door.

As she left I could hear her chatting away with the receptionist without a care in the world. I fled to my office and closed the door. I took a few deep breaths. A drop of sweat raced down the side of my face.

And then I had a moment of clarity.

It was like she was the doctor.

and I...befuddled, afraid, and powerless...

was the patient.

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