Once upon a time my dream was to go to Medical School and become a doctor like my dear old Dad. But the truth is I am better at creating stories than saving lives. It was a hard pill to swallow but I think I have made my peace with it. As I conducted research on medical schools , I came across several Top 5 lists. The one that struck me most was the Top 5 Medical Schools for bedside manner. I define that as some schools teach students to become excellent care givers and and some schools focus on having the future MD relate to the patient as well as providing excellent care. My main source of medical experience and knowledge are my dad who is a Surgeon and my uncle who is an Ob-Gyn. Both these men have excellent bed side manner and their patients love them to pieces. Growing up, I remember my dad coming home with random gifts that he had been given in thanks for treating a patient. The weirdest gift I ever remember him receiving was an Alligator – oh yes, a living breathing alligator. As we stood around staring, wondering what we would do with it, (my idea was keep it as a pet) my fearless mother had already come up with 5 dishes into which she could incorporate the alligator meat. And while I did not know what the exact term was, I knew that there was a right way and a wrong way for a medical professional to talk to a patient.
When I was about 12 years old, I cut open my knee from side to side like The Joker’s smile. It looked a mile long and about 10 feet deep – we were way past the white meat and into some other internal realm. When it happened I was in a rural area with the nearest hospital over an hour away, so I was taken to the maternity “hospital” across the street where a midwife who had obviously flunked needlework patched me up. Come to think of it, I don’t remember getting any anesthesia. But I do remember being held down while she
butchered sewed me up, recreating a medieval amputation with the patient biting on a knife to stifle the cries of pain. By the time I got home some days later, the wound was infected and my dad had to take the stitches out. I have to admit the amount of pus that oozed out of that gash fascinated me to no end, the smell a little less so. I also loved watching him pour hydrogen peroxide into the wound and could stare for hours at the bubbles as they danced around in my knee cup cavity. My dad kept me out of school for a couple of days and then reluctantly allowed me to go back to school – boarding school, where I would be away from his daily supervision. His instructions were that I tell the school nurse to clean my wound daily with hydrogen peroxide not alcohol and under no circumstances was anyone to stitch my wound until he had a chance to see it when he visited in a month. We were only allowed monthly visits in prison school and my dad seemed scared to break the rules even when he could. I departed for school with tons of supplies: bandages, cases of hydrogen peroxide and trepidation about maneuvering around hundreds of girls with a 10 foot deep gash in my knee.
On my first visit with the nurse, I immediately realized we were going to have a problem. I took my supplies with me and showed her how she was supposed to clean my wound per my dad’s instructions. Apparently, she did not like taking orders from some city slick doctor she did not know, had never met or seen and took offense. Now, I on the other hand had grown up with people constantly idolizing my dad for the work he did and I was not going to let some back woods nurse say anything out of turn about him. It was going to be a show down!
To be continued!
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