Things Patients Do
Things patients do, with a capital Things. It is unreal how many completely inappropriate things can be done in a small exam room. Where to start? Shoes. Patients wear leather shoes without socks and their feet STINK. Any gynecologist will tell you, it’s not the crotch smells that get you, it’s the FEET. Also, patients put their shoes right on the little step at the bottom of the exam table. Well, that’s great, people, but I can’t open my bottom drawer and get to my pap brushes because your shoes are sitting there. Why would that be a good place for shoes? Clothes are also placed on the floor, despite having a large seat cushion to put them on and hangers on the back of the door. Would you put your clothes and underwear on a dirty old floor in a doctor’s office? People in doctor’s offices have GERMS. In particular, shoes and purses are placed directly between my seat and my lamp. Just how do I pull the lamp up to the table to use it, people, if you have all your clothes tangled up in my wheels and blocking the lamp on the floor? Another area of poor parking involves BABIES. People bring their babies, which I understand, because they are new, and they want to show them off, and they may not have a sitter, but why put the infant carrier on the floor EXACTLY where my chair needs to go, at the bottom of the table? Then you wind up having to move a purse, or a sleeping baby, and the patient is giving you irritated looks, despite the fact that their stuff is on the floor right where you NEED to be. Then there is the issue of bringing entire FAMILIES. A woman will come in for her checkup after having a baby, and she will bring her infant, the older sibling, the boyfriend, and maybe the mother-in-law. Then the baby will be screaming, the toddler will be babbling and dragging the baby carrier toward the garbage can, the boyfriend will be on the phone and the MIL will be saying, “What about THIS? And THIS?” Meanwhile, the patient, instead of being appropriately ashamed of having brought this monstrous collection of human beings, will be trying to discuss her ENTIRE LIFE HISTORY with you, over the screaming baby, the yelling toddler, the distracted boyfriend making drug deals on the phone, and the MIL trying to get your attention to try to discuss what SHE thinks is more important, like, when can the patient have sex with her son? Then there are the telephone people. People are supposed to have their cell phones turned off when they come in. Well, they don’t. I come in and the patient is yacking on the phone. Instead of apologetically turning it off, they keep on blathering. On several occasions I have told the patient, “I’ll come back when you’re ready,” and they’ve STILL kept on talking. So I leave the room, and go see another patient. Then, even weirder, are the ones who talk on their phones THROUGH their exams. In Atlanta, I was examining a stockbroker, who, during her pap smear was yelling, “Sell! For God’s sake, sell!” She still had on the top part of her power suit, which was even more disconcerting. Then there are the stealers. The worst offenders are often the boyfriends. I once had one steal the toilet paper key from the bathroom. His girlfriend made him give it back. I catch them squeezing their zits in the mirror, stealing the q-tips, and looking for needles. One of our patients stole the nurse’s cell phone. Then there are diapers. This should perhaps be organized under babies. A ripe poopy diaper can ruin an exam room for the better part of the day. So do old tampons. Then the patients refuse to follow instructions. My nurse tells them to put the blue thing on open in the front, they put it on backwards. My nurse tells them to spread the white thing over their laps, they sit on it. The worst part is, I reiterate these instructions before I leave the room to have them undress. So they’ve heard it twice. Then there is the big old sign that says PLEASE DO NOT CLOSE THE DOOR WHEN YOU LEAVE. This is to prevent mystery patients. If we see a closed door, we think there’s a patient there. We can waste an hour on an empty room if we don’t figure it out. I think most folks can read. So why do they close the freakin’ door? Not all of these things are big things mind you, but they sure add up over the course of a day. So use a little common sense, people, please? Make our days a little easier.