This Week's Peeves

August 30, 2010
Melissa Young, MD

Wasn’t it about a month ago that I was carrying on about howI felt disrespected? Wasn’t it just a week or two ago that I said that life is good and that I shouldn’t complain? And now here I am with this week’s list of things that just plain irked me.

Some of you will think me bipolar. Or maybe schizophrenic. And maybe you’re right. And maybe psychiatrists reading this are thinking I need to take a refresher in Psych 101. Probably also right.

Wasn’t it about a month ago that I was carrying on about howI felt disrespected? Wasn’t it just a week or two ago that I said that life is good and that I shouldn’t complain? And now here I am with this week’s list of things that just plain irked me.

While I was speaking to patient who was voluntarily in the hospital’s behavioral health ward, a very angry patient stood in the doorway (my only potential egress) asking me (in a loud and sort of scary voice) where the elevator was and why there was no clearly marked exit, and yelling at me that we were not customer friendly and that I was only there for the money. I, too, longed for a clearly marked exit at that point.

I had to see a woman in the hospital who has had Type 1 diabetes for the last 40 years and therefore knows how to take care of it without my “stupid” orders. I guess that’s why she has a failed kidney transplant and a diabetic foot ulcer. And between her and her 91-year-old mother telling me (or more accurately, yelling at me - yes, more yelling) that I am having her do things that she doesn’t do at home, I gave her the option of dismissing me from her case, which she thankfully took.

I still had to resolve last week’s math dilemma of nine 3ml pens do not equal 9ml; it equals 27ml.

Every other patient I saw in the office complained of hair loss.

When I asked a new patient today why she was seeing me, her answer was “I was very sick two months ago, but I didn’t want miss this appointment. I’m a friend of so-and so.” Huh? This was followed by myriad complaints for which she has been seen by an ENT, neurologist, neurosurgeon, gastroenterologist, cardiologist, pulmonologist, and general internist, none of whom could provide her with a diagnosis or a treatment. Fortunately, apparently none was needed as it all went away on its own. So after I said I was glad it was all gone and even if it wasn’t I could think of no endocrine explanation for her complaints, she hit me with, “So how can I lose weight?”

Did I mention that 90 percent of my patients complain that they can’t lose weight? Not that they’re on a diet or exercising or anything like that. So it must by their thyroid, or “something internal,” or a “chemical problem.” So can’t I test all their hormones or give them something to jumpstart their metabolism?

Maybe next week will be bright and sunny again, and I can happily regale you with how wonderful the practice of medicine is and how my patients bring sunshine into my life. But I won’t promise you anything.