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.”