THE ANTIBODY: A super short story series. Teeny-tiny anti-anxiety laughs for tough times.
2 minute read
“Can you hurry UP,” my patient growled at me after I asked her a question. Fully clothed, she lay stiffly on the hospital bed, after coming to the emergency department a few hours prior for abdominal pain and a fever.
“When did the pain start?” I repeated, trying my very best to ignore her attitude. I was on a two week emergency medicine rotation, and was not enjoying my time at all. The constant noise, the fast pace, and the patients’ general grouchy dispositions… I hated every minute of it.
She rolled her eyes so hard I was certain they would get stuck in that position. “A few weeks ago.” She was a pretty woman in her thirties with beige skin, almond shaped eyes, and jet-black hair that hung straight down her back. She crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes in defiance.
Her son, who appeared to be about 5 or 6 years old, sat in the corner with an iPad in his hand. He had the same jet black hair of his mother, his shaped into a bowl cut. The sound effects from the game he was playing were very loud, adding to my growing frustration.
“A few weeks meaning…. One or two? Or about a month?” I asked.
“Oh MY GAWWWWWDDDDDDDD!” She spoke loudly enough that her son looked up briefly from his iPad and then returned to his game.
“The sooner you answer my questions, the sooner I can get out of your hair, ma’am,” I responded with a sigh.
“But this is the THIRD TIME someone has asked these SAME questions! Just go ask them!”
“Ma’am,” I started again, “I’m the first physician seeing you. I’m sure this is so annoying, but I do have to ask you these questions again. This is how we can take the best care —”
“OK, YOU KNOW WHAT….. I’m done with this. I’m really done, I don’t have to answer any more questions.”
“I think —”
“I don’t care WHAT you think! You LOOK like you’re in high school, and you’re trying to ask ME questions?” She began to scoot to the edge of the bed as though she were preparing to leave.
I looked around the room helplessly. The emergency room was extremely busy, and the last thing my attending would want was to know that his intern was incompetent. I resorted to begging. “OK, Please, ma’am. At least let me examine you —”
“The answer is NO,” She scowled. “You can just —”
“MOM STOP BEING MEAN!” The young boy yelled at the top of his lungs. We were both shocked into silence. No one spoke for a moment, and the iPad continued with its chimes and jingles, filling the air that would have otherwise been quiet. He put the iPad down, walked over, and looked up at me. “It’s not your fault. She told aunty Mickey that she’s horny because she hasn’t been getting any.”
A look of horror flashed across the patient’s face as I stifled the hearty laugh in my throat. I couldn’t help but smile, and turned a bit so she wouldn’t see my face. ATTA BOYYYYYY! PUT MAMA IN HER PLACE! HA!
She looked at me, humbled, then slid back on the bed. “The pain started 3 weeks ago,” she mumbled.
So I guess we’re doing this, huh? It took EVERYTHING within me not to laugh.
I had NO problems with her after that. After I finished asking her questions, I examined her, and was on my way. All was well with the world.
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Disclaimer: All names, dates, diseases, or any other identifying details of patients and healthcare providers in my stories have been changed to protect their privacy.