The Hardest Thing
A I tell new parents in my practice: the hardest part of parenting is keeping a straight face.
Sometimes it's also the hardest part of doctoring, and I'm usually pretty darn good at it. Not today, though:
For several weeks, I've been trying to care for a 15-year-old girl with abdominal pain, and her family. The pain has been intermittent, has no relation to eating, stooling or menses. It hasn't affected her appetite or activities. Her physical exams have always been completely normal, and frankly I haven't felt that extensive lab and imaging studies were warranted. The pain began when her parents left her with family members while they went on a "second honeymoon" to Arizona. Somehow, this 15-year-old's parents had never left her before, and it eventually became clear that the pain was mainly attention-getting behavior.
Finally I tried to reassure the mother as tactfully as I could. "You know, 15-year-old girls can sometimes be a little dramatic."
The mother drew herself up to her full height of 5'5", planted her hands on her hips and shrieked at me, "Dramatic? Dramatic!? My daughter is not DRAMATIC!"