Stupid People and the Pain They Cause
(Thanks to all the encouraging commenters on my previous post. Yes, I was having a bad day, and, as always, things were much better in the morning. Because of that last post, though, I feel compelled to point out that this one is intended as humor and not pathos.)
There are times when I finish seeing someone, watch as the patient leaves, gets in their car and drives away, then go up to my two front office staffers (I don't have a nurse) and shake my head.
"There are times," I hear myself saying to them, "when I cannot imagine," (I speak slowly, for emphasis) "that being *that* stupid," (another dramatic pause; they've heard me say this before and are getting ready to laugh) "wouldn't hurt."
Oh, let's see:
- "I had a rash a few months ago. It was right there...or maybe it was on this side; anyway, what was it?
- [Pointing to spot on abdomen]
- "Is that skin cancer?"
- "No, it's a stretch mark."
- "Can I get rid of it?"
- [Holding out hand with perfectly normal fingernails]
- "My manicurist says there's something wrong with this nail."
- "What did she think was wrong with it?"
- "She didn't say."
- "My son had a cold last week. He's fine now, but I just want you to check him out."
There are some people you want to smack over the head with a 2 x 4, trying to beat some sense into them. And then there are these; the ones that make you think, "Why ruin a perfectly good 2 x 4?"
It is for these patients I have coined the term "pneumocephalic." (Yes, I know such a thing actually exists, seen rarely on head CTs and the like; but I really did make it up without realizing that.) It's doctor-type jargon for "AIRHEAD". One day, I even realized there's a code for it.
[Digression for explanation: There is a document known as the International Classification of Diseases (we're on version 9; ie: ICD-9) which contains codes for every conceivable diagnosis, symptom and/or ailment known to humankind. In fact there is a code for every conceivable reason for walking into a doctor's office. The "administrative" codes -- checkups, driver's physicals, routine gyn exams -- are preceded by the letter V, and so are known (of all things) as "V-codes."]
Here's the code for pneumocephaly: V02.
(Oxygen; get it?)
The moment I came up with that, I realized that there's even a code for a bad hair day: V05.