Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Monday, June 16, 2008


As CrankyProf discovered (and so graciously informed the internet) I often meet patients at the office after hours when they need special care (and I'm not in the middle of doing anything else.) Many times it's quicker for them and just as easy for me. Every now and then, though, I get into more than I bargained for.

One lazy Sunday afternoon, the phone rings:

"Dr. Dino? Adam just got this huge gash in his head at a rugby game. We're still at the field, but I know it needs stitches. I really don't feel like sitting in the ER with him for hours and hours. Would you please please please do us a huge favor and come in and stitch him up?"

Sure, why not. As it happens, Adam was even in scouts with the Nestling so we'd run into him outside the office from time to time anyway. May as well do my Good Deed for the day.

So I putter out to the office, unlock the doors and turn on the lights. Within a few minutes their van pulls up. In walks Adam, his head covered in a huge swath of white bandage, followed by his mother, contrite and grateful.

Followed by ANOTHER kid with bandages around his head, and yet another mother.

"Hey, Dr. Dino," says Adam, "Right after we called you, my friend Brian here also got hit. He has a cut over his other eyebrow." (The opposite side from Adam's wound. Just my luck: symmetrical ruckers.) "Any chance you could sew him up too?"

Both boys were grinning the shit-eating grins of teenagers in trouble that wasn't their fault; both mothers were saying "Please" with their eyes. At least the second kid -- who wasn't my patient -- had really good insurance, so I figured, why not? No one had lost consciousness. Everyone remembered everything that had happened. No concussions involved, so all there was for me to do was tend to the wounds.

Adam came back first. He admitted that the guy who had done the bandaging had gone somewhat overboard as I cut off roll after roll of gauze. Just above his right eyebrow was a deep, gaping laceration about two inches long.

"Wow!" I said. It was gross, but gross = "wow" to a teenage boy.

"Can I see it?" he asked. I handed him a mirror. "I wish I could take a picture of it," he said.

No problem. I trudged back out to the waiting room and addressed his mother: "He wants his phone." I busied myself assembling my wound irrigation and suturing supplies while they recorded the wound for posterity. It was deep enough to require a few deep absorbable sutures to pull the skin edges close enough together, but when it was done I thought it looked pretty good, in a Frankenstein's monster kind of way. Adam and his mom thought it looked great.

Brian's gash wasn't as deep or as long, and was closer to being actually in his eyebrow. It turned out he'd had another cut in the same place a few months ago, so they thought maybe the scar had opened back up. Just a few stitches almost completely hidden in his eyebrow and he was good to go.

Both boys healed up fine. I even got paid for both procedures. But they're both still playing rugby, so who knows? You may meet them yourself some weekend, CrankyProf.


At Mon Jun 16, 08:27:00 PM, Blogger Ian Furst said...

Love it - I spent the occasional Saturday night sewing up one of the neighborhood children. A couple of years ago I had a retired surgeon come in for something or other and he wrote me a note his old letterhead. The header read;

"Dr. Peel
A Country Doctor"

maybe you should get it?

At Mon Jun 16, 11:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At Tue Jun 17, 11:48:00 AM, Blogger Lynn Price said...

Careful, Dino, you're going to reveal yourself as a sweetheart, then POOF! there goes the image.

At Tue Jun 17, 12:54:00 PM, Blogger Margaret Polaneczky, MD (aka TBTAM) said...

Great post. Love those boys!

I have a wonderful little frog business card holder on my desk given to me by a patient I saw in the office on a Sunday. All my new patients love it and comment on how cute it is. And I remember every day that sometimes it's worth going the extra mile. (And easier than dealing with the ER...)

At Tue Jun 17, 04:52:00 PM, Blogger CrankyProf said...

Dino strikes few in the populace with the cock of a Dinobrow.

If you want to see the Dino in action, rent "Jur Ass Has Had It Park!"

Seriously -- now you have to post some sort of "red in fang and claw" rant about douchebag drug seekers, incompetent techs or evil insurance companies. I may go into a diabetic coma over here --- and then you'd have to meet me in the office AGAIN, and put up with the cranky Husband hovering.

At Tue Jun 17, 08:42:00 PM, Blogger Mother Jones RN said...

You are such a nice Dino. You rock!

At Tue Jun 17, 09:54:00 PM, Blogger rlbates said...

I'll just add my applause to the above. Good for you.

At Wed Jun 18, 02:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should post the pictures!

At Wed Jun 18, 10:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great story. I spent 4 hours in the ER today with my daughter. She took a field hockey ball to the head and needed 6 stitches in her right eyebrow. She got a CT scan too - just in case, I guess. She never lost consciousness and remembered everything that had happened.

At Thu Jun 19, 03:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you remind me of the family doc we had when I was a kid-No ER 's in those days-everyone had Bob's home number for after hours calls-Many a late night/early moring visit with Bob in his robe and slippers-even took an xray if you needed it!


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