The fool professional life

In the hustle and bustle of my medical practice I mostly manage to maintain a cool professional demeanor. But every now and then, it so happens that I am thrown out of my ivory tower and forced to admit that like everybody else, I too am merely human. This narrative is an example of one such instance.
Mrs. P is my neighbour and as every possessor of XY chromosomes in my locality will testify, she is a perfectly delightful woman. One day as I was relaxing at home on a Sunday evening, this person entered our home. On being informed by my wife of the arrival, I entered my consulting room and greeted the visitor. This is what followed:

Me: Hi, Mrs. P.!
Mrs. P.: Hi, doctor!
Me (in a pleasant, professional tone): Is there anything I can do for you?
Mrs. P. (in a sweet trilling nightingale voice): Yes there is. Actually I think I am falling seriously ill.

To be truthful, at this point the idea of falling together with her does cross my mind, but I push the thought aside with a firm professional shove.

Me: Really! But you look so well! (It is always good to establish friendly relations with a patient)
Mrs. P. (blushing gracefully): So nice of you to say that doctor, but I really don’t feel well at all.
Me: Well I’m all ears.
Mrs. P. (looking a bit overwhelmed – hers was obviously not the literary mind): Oh, I think you look quite young. But I was telling you about my problem.
Me: Your problem is mine Mrs. P. (quite gallant I thought). Please tell me all about it.
Mrs. P.: Well, the problem is my chest you know.
Me (taking a good look at her problem): I don’t think there’s any problem Mrs. P. In fact its quite perfect.
Mrs. P.(hastily covering her problem with her saree; oops, I kick myself mentally for my misplaced gallantry): I mean my problem is my heart you know.
Me: And how does your heart trouble you?
Mrs. P.(leaning forwards conspiratorially, again uncovering her problem): Well doctor, it beats.
Me: Whom? (for a moment the sight of her problems benumb my mind and wash away my professionalism)
Mrs. P.(looking prettily confused – I mean, pretty confused again): No one in particular. It just beats against my chest.
Me (swiftly regaining my composure): Oh, oh, I see! But Mrs. P., isn’t that rather normal. I mean that problem is common to all of us.
Mrs. P.: Yes, but mine beats so hard, that it threatens to jump out of my chest. Would you like to feel it?

I nearly fall off my chair. There’s a faint crash in the background which I ignore.

Me (my professional instincts thoroughly aroused): Why certainly if you wish.

Slowly I advance my hand, anticipating the professional thrill I was about to experience.

Mrs. P.(again looking confused): Aren’t you going to use a stethoscope, doctor?
Me (feeling like a fool): Yes, yes, of course! (I feel an unpleasant tingling in my left foot which I ignore)

I use a stethoscope on her with an inexplicable feeling of being so close and yet so far.

Me: Everything seems to be fine Mrs. P.
Mrs. P.: Are you sure you did not miss anything doctor?
Me: Of course not. (Of course I had missed everything vital)
Mrs. P.: Then perhaps its my BP that’s making me feel uneasy. Would you mind checking my BP?
Me (wondering for a moment if she meant Beautiful Personality – in fact there are many full forms for B that I could think of and one or two for P as well; but again I use the firm professional shove): I’d love to.

I search my table for the BP instrument but cannot find it.

Mrs. P.(with wonderful insight): Its lying on the ground. You dropped it when you were examining my chest.

So that was why my foot was tingling. I checked her BP.

Me: Your BP is perfectly normal (of course it was. It was mine that needed checking)
Mrs. P.: Then what is the problem? Why does my heart beat so?
Me: Are you getting proper sleep?
Mrs. P.: Oh no I’m not. My husband keeps me awake the whole night.

With all her Bs and Ps I did not doubt that, though her candidness astounded me.

Me: Really?
Mrs. P.: Oh yes. And he does it so loudly, I’m afraid he will wake up the whole neighbourhood.
Me (with eyes widely dilated): Really?
Mrs. P.: Yes doctor. And he does it in all possible positions.
Me (eyes threatening to pop out of their sockets): Really?
Mrs. P.: Yes he does. On his back, sideways, even with his face down. You know, he just drives me crazy. And I think its his tongue – its so large and thick, that it blocks up the whole passage.
Me (wiping the sweat off my brow): Wow, I mean, he must have a lot of stamina.
Mrs. P.(with the by now familiar confused look): Does it take a lot of stamina to snore?
Me (feeling like a fool yet again): Oh, you mean he snores?
Mrs. P.(now a bit suspiciously): What else did you think I meant?
Me (hastily changing the subject): Well, I think there is nothing wrong with you physically (and I meant it quite literally).
Mrs. P.: You think so? But I still think you should give me a full-body check-up.

This time I was sure the BP instrument broke my ankle.

Me (stammering): Oh r-really? I-I th-think that is a—g-good idea, great idea.
Mrs. P.(after waiting five minutes for me to make the move): Well, aren’t you going to take it out?
Me (could this be really happening?): Take out? Take out – what?
Mrs. P.: Your pen, of course.
Me (totally losing my bearing): P-pen? What pen?
Mrs. P.: How else are you going to give me a full body check-up? I mean prescribe blood tests, sonography etc.?

By now I am feeling tailormade for the fool’s role in one of Shakespeare’s comedies. Bending my head low to mask my blush, I write down the tests for her.

Mrs. P.(standing up to leave): Thank you doctor. You have been really nice. No, no please don’t stand up. I will find my own way outside.

I am glad she said that. For I am in no fit position to stand up; after all, despite all my professionalism, I’m still a human being.

I have always been a great believer. I've flitted from one belief to another, from religion to atheism and from one philosophy to another, until I finally settled on J. Krishnamurti whose philosophy is that there is no philosophy. So now I firmly believe that there is nothing to believe. Now such a belief would, I believe, have been considered dangerous to society if the authorities had believed me to be of any consequence. No man of consequence they believe would waste his time on the pursuit of blogging!

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Posted in humour
11 comments on “The fool professional life
  1. ~uh~™ says:

    ROFL ROFL
    Clearly something did stand-up for you, irrespective of all your professional shove !
    I just got this zen- your ID can be interpreted as ‘Doctor looking at large *you know what *’
    Cheers!

  2. doctoratlarge says:

    yeah, you did crack my code. thanks for the appreciation

  3. Lynn says:

    well, that was quite an interesting story…are you a real doctor? i’m just laughing because you put a whole new spin on my views of a doctor…. thanksfor a good post!

  4. whatsinaname says:

    rofl rofl!
    You and roflindian seem to be twin of sorts.
    So did Mrs P ever visit you again?

  5. […] Aishwarya Rai, Asin, Priyanka Chopra, Vidya Balan, Deepika Padukone, Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz, Mrs P. (my delectable neighbor), Kim […]

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