I Am A Bad Patient, and Other Love Songs

There is a phenomenon you see in medicine, where patients are on their best behaviour when they see you in the office because (a) they don’t want you to think bad behaviour is responsible for their illness, (b) they don’t want you (the doc) to think that they deserve their illness, (c) it’s part of the bargain with God about being good and getting rid of their suffering, (d) it’s bad form to mistreat the person who might be able to diagnose and cure you, and (e) they’ve been trained that a doctor’s office is the place to exercise a certain decorum.  Well, I shot that all to hell today. 


If you recall, I spent Friday and Saturday peeing in a hat and pouring it into a jug, the lovely 24-hour urine collection that is required in order to calculate a creatinine clearance (the big kidney number).  My kidneys were working overtime, so I filled the three-liter jug from the lab, then added another bottle from home to contain the excess.  All that time and effort spent on urine got me (and apparently a number of you) thinking.  I followed everyone’s suggestions as best I could in the time allotted.  This morning I took out my containers and used a purple marker to put my name and a bunch of smiley faces all over them.  Then I got a few strands of thick, colorful yarn and tied a pretty bow around the handle of the big jug.  Finally, I put water in a third bottle and added drops of red and blue food coloring to make a nice shade of deep purple.  In the end, I had a very festive looking collection to take to my doc’s office and present to the lab.The very dark center jar is actually a lovely deep purple.  After I lined my bottles up on the counter in the lab, and before the lab technician could get her jaw back into it’s normal position, my doctor came into the lab.  He barely greeted me before his gaze fell on the purple “pee”.  He immediately began to question me about what I had consumed that turned my urine that amazing color.  I let him mull it over for a minute before I confessed.  It was wonderful.  Absolutely the best.  I hope it was as good for him as it was for me.


In some of the earlier days of my private practice, just before I was diagnosed with lupus, I was slaving away at way too many jobs.  I had my own practice where I saw patients daily, I was Medical Director of a very small hospital, and I held the contract for providing emergency care at the same hospital.  When I couldn’t hire enough physicians to cover the emergency room shifts, I was the backup.  I was married and my child was in preschool.  Kind of busy life, yes?  One day I stayed late to see my hospitalized patients again before I left for home.  I walked into the room of a very ill, sweet elderly woman who was a long time patient and saw something that stopped me in my tracks.  Most of her face was covered by an ornate, beaded, feathered, royal blue Mardi Gras mask.  Below it, she had a huge smile.  I had one of those life-saving, bring-you-to-your-senses laughs that night.  That lovely woman had been my patient for five years and I didn’t know she had that in her.  It was wonderful.  I hope my doc got a bit of that today.  I do love him.


I have to add a few qualifiers.  Playing jokes in the office is not something to do on your first visit, or even your fifth or eleventh.  But when you get to the point where your doc has to add a new hard drive to contain your medical records, I think you can trust that even the most humorless physician isn’t going to boot you out of the practice.  And for goodness sake, know where the limits are.  Too frequent jokes are intolerable, and anything destructive or hurtful is unconscionable. 


The remainder of my day has been good.  I’m continuing to have more energy and feel less like death eating a cracker.  (Um, yeah, one of my mama’s favorites.)  After the doctor’s office I went to the post office to mail off a poncho that someone purchased from my store this weekend.  On the final leg of the trip I took a very slow stroll through the new Walgreens to replenish my trash bags and cleaning spray.  None of these efforts took me back to the frighteningly sick feelings of last week.


I am going to do more work on my modern snood tonight.  It is a gorgeous Koigu Painters Premium Palette Merino (KPPPM) in shades of aqua, red, pale yellow and purple.  I am quite excited about it.  Show you soon.




6 Responses

  1. Let me know if you need assistance! I’m sure your doctor had a fit, seeing that purple liquid . . .

  2. I DO love the way you think.

  3. LOL………

  4. almost gave me heart failure when I saw the pictures and had not read the blog…you a too funny! That was a good one and now your doc loves you even more, I’m sure!

  5. Way too funny. I too saw the bottle and thought….ohhh I’m no doctor but purple urine doesn’t look good. Keep the joyful spirit flowing.

  6. That poor lab tech…. bet they talk about you for weeks!

    I am glad you are feeling better, but I’m not surprised that you are a bad patient. (grin) How many movies have been made about doctors that have been really bad patients?! You better take them some cookies, next time, or they will put warning notes all over your file. (very big grin!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: