Connecting with your patients

My last patient today had “personality disorder” listed multiple times in her record, and even on her most recent discharge 3 weeks ago. I prepared myself for a headache. What should be a straightforward patient interview had the potential to become a nightmare.

I entered the room and immediately her husband started to raise his voice blaming this that and the other thing along with the nurses for his wife’s current illness, not addressing my HPI questioning. I secretly wondered if the husband wasn’t the one with the personality disorder. I thought about what time my shift was over, not really listening to his ranting. I passively let them vent for a few minutes, then calmly redirected my questions to find out why they were here. I could sense they wanted to get along with me and not cause problems, but were fed up with her chronic illness. I didn’t take it personally.

Proceeding with my physical exam, I picked up the otoscope as I prepared to look at her eardrums and said matter-of-factly to the husband, “Sir, could you please hold your hand up next to her head to hold the light in?”. He picked up his hand, then hesitated. Then he started to belly laugh. His wife started to giggle. “She got you you good,” the husband said. “You fell for it too!” the wife exclaimed, still laughing. THey giggled and snickered to each other for the rest of the night.

Short Hiatus

Mr. Hassle & I will be taking a short hiatus while the pandemonium of June scheduling resolves itself. Check back in a few weeks, or send me an email if you like.

Mystery Duck

Two new birds to add to my list…a grey catbird and the barn swallow. The catbird was in a bush just a few feet off the trail at the lake. The barn swallows I first saw…where else…near a barn. But yesterday I went back to the lake around dusk and watched the swallows swoop in and out from underneath a metal walkway by the dam. I snuck up within about 20 feet of the walkway and watched them perch & groom themselves while sitting on a wire. I noted that some had whiter bellies and others had rustier bellies. After looking it up in Sibley’s I realized that they were just males and females. COol.

Finally, my mother & I saw a new duck that was difficult to identify…there was an adult, presumably a female, with about 6 ducklings. At first glance, it looked like a mallard by it’s shape and size, but the coloring was all wrong. She had a black head, eyes and bill, a grey back and a white chest. Her babies were like a litter of puppies…some looked just like her, others had whitish backs and still others were kind of brownish. They were definately engaged in dabbling behavior, not diving behavior.

After consulting two bird books and my brother (the duck hunter), I’m fairly certain I’ve made a positive identification of what species they are (or aren’t). Any thoughts?