Eyes Wide Open

A Perspective From Within

Bite me…


I want to talk about the importance of good bedside manner in medicine. I received an unnecessary dose of the nonchalant air by the residents that came to administer the ASIA exam.  I was incensed right after their introduction. The first question out of one of the doctor’s mouth was “So, how’d this happen to you?” Please put yourself in my position; I am sitting in ICU for a very good reason. I have a serious injury, and my focus is what I have to do now to overcome the obstacles that are in front me.

I looked at him and answered his question with a question, “Do you really want me to tell you the horrible story of what happened to me so I can relive it all over again?”

To add insult to injury (literally) the other doctor asked an even more brainless and irresponsible question…”Which part of your neck did you break?” Someone obviously came to this meeting unprepared. At this point, I was so f-ing pissed I was seeing black. How can a physician go into a patient’s room and not be familiar with their case? As calmly as I could possibly be in this situation, I asked her, “Did you not look at my chart?” I think that the three doctors sensed how pissed I was and told me they would be back in 45 minutes after they reviewed my chart. They didn’t come back until the next day.

This kid had a mohawk. Really, a mohawk?  Mohawks and medicine just don’t mix. If you want to be taken seriously, have a normal haircut. I really don’t need to talk about first impressions…

After they had left, I was so upset that I was treated so casually and uncaring that I sobbed for about 20 minutes. My ICU nurse Cathy held my hand and said it was going to be okay. She was such a warm and beautiful person. Thank you Cathy. Shelly, a clinical nurse and Dr. Green’s right-hand woman, came by as well. Cathy must have called her to let her know how upset I was. Shelly is awesome. She has the unique ability to calm someone down. She took the time to comfort and listen to me but in the end really knew how to fix the situation. Shelly offered me a Diet Coke; I was better. I guess there’s something to be said about “have a Coke and a smile.”

4 thoughts on “Bite me…

  1. I know exactly what you are talking about, and it is one of the reasons that SOME medical people were jumping for glee when I was discharged from the hospital after 2 months, and I mean this seriously! They are more used to dealing with meek and mild people!! You hang in there Mare, you are tough!!! xo

  2. Mary Angela…as a retired social worker that worked in a hospital…..I can’t believe how insensitive those residents were, especially working in a rehabilitation facility……You should have a little chat with their supervisor….They need more training on people skills and plain ordinary manners…..I loved how you socked it to them!!!! Since you’re such a great writer…maybe you should write a book for medical personnel……”Things Not to Say to A Patient”

  3. Mary, I had a similar experience. I was hospitalized for a collapsed lung and I was septic. I had been through two liver resections and chemo. One morning I had a really bad anxiety attack and so the nurse brought me my Ativan and I calmed down. Later that day the Psych squad came in and the doctor asked me what I thought was causing my anxiety…are you serious….did you read my chart ? I
    explained all that I had been through and he said ..mmmmm….there must be something else. I was so upset that he just assumed I was a whack job without reading my chart…..yes, cancer does make me anxious for good reasons…he soon left the room, never returning…thank God!
    Praying for you daily.

  4. Hi Mary, Al here from good old Sandridge. Will you hurry it up and get your butt back here so we can all come and see you. The things people will do to get out of work 🙂 Seriously … I was sadden to hear what had happen to you, but if anyone can beat this it’s you. God speed to recovery, and remember we all up here are always thinking of you, and have you in our prayers. Take care.. Al

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