There’s somebody out there for everybody

October 1, 2007 at 11:42 am (Clinical rotations)

Lois is a 64-year-old improvised woman who comes to the clinic every three months for evaluation of her diabetes and high blood pressure. She is so poor that when a storm blew off part of her roof over a year ago, she simply went without shelter. Rain constantly pours into her home while mosquitoes lay new eggs in the standing water in her bedroom. After the bugs have bitten her repeatedly throughout the night, the marks and itchy bumps she’s left with the next morning become so unbearable that she picks at the small swellings until they bleed, enlarge, and become big, infected mountains all over her obese body.

She uses no air conditioning because she cannot afford the utilities. From her smell, I would imagine that daily use of soap and water are luxuries she cannot pay for either. Although she is a pleasant single grandmother, anyone looking at her can quickly determine the amount of damage that a lifetime of neglect can do to a body.

Recently, she presented to the clinic with burning with urination. Later we confirmed the diagnosis as chlamydia. The moral of the story is: if you’re single, don’t worry. There’s somebody out there for everybody.

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5 Comments

  1. Zagreus Ammon said,

    I know you are going through a really tough time in your training and this patient was very difficult to take care of.

    But that last sentence is really cynical. So cynical, that I wouldn’t hire you if I were in a position…

    Life is tough. Medicine can be worse. Just try and take care of yourself a bit and don’t let intolerable situations get to you. I’ve been there, trust me. And I still have moments.

    I hope I’m not being too presumptious.

  2. 3/4 MD said,

    Hey half good job on your recent post. I don’t think you are being cynical. I would definitely hire you if I were in a position. You seem to have a good sense of humor which is great. People need to stop viewing medicine as being something magical or fantastic. It is just a job for which there are many pros and many cons. Also many doctors think that they are highly intelligent and do some of the most taxing brain work but in reality it just isn’t true in clinical medicine. Many things are routine and treatments are established already. Patients think that doctors are god that they can show up and we wave our magic steth and vola they are cured. Patients and people in general need to know that they have personal responsibilty. I have seen my fair share of the Lois Syndrome and quite frankly there really is someone out there for everyone!

  3. Kai said,

    That is probably the funniest post I’ve read in awhile. You and Hoover from Medschoolhell can really tear this shitty profession a new one.

  4. halfmd said,

    I enjoy a lot of the variety that Hoover shows. He’s also good at getting guest authors to drop by and discuss their own problems with the medical profession. Take today, for example. I pre-rounded on seven patients for my internal medicine team. I had to arrive at the hospital by 5:00AM to see everyone in time, look up lab values and radiology findings, and write progress notes—only to have the attending show up an hour and a half later than he was supposed to, not look at my note, interrupt my presentation of the patients, go the opposite direction of my plan of care without explaining how I should have worked up the patient, and then say, “Good job today. Your reward is another patient to follow.” Now, I have to spend my night tracking down journal articles and reading about a topic that he could have given me the answer to in less than two minutes.

  5. TLFORD said,

    N/A

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