Yesterday was one of those days where people said things that sorta blew my mind. You know, the sort of comment that is so odd that you struggle to find the appropriate response within the appropriate time frame. Here’s a sample of the comments:
- Patient, after a pap smear in which there was a female assistant/chaperone in the room: “Well, obviously YOU’RE not gay, but some doctors are, so I can understand why THEY would need to have someone else in the room with them.” Me: Stunned silence, while patient immediately continued to ramble on at length about something else. (Not only am I a homo, but I wear a rainbow ribbon on my lab coat and have a short, gay-ass haircut–I’m not sure what type of “gay doctor” she was picturing if it wasn’t me. Maybe someone mean and gay?)
- Schizophrenic patient, in office for blood pressure check: “I wrote down some things that I think about every day. Here, look at them!” Patient hands me a list of about 30 items on a scrap of paper, starting with “telekinesis” and “reading people’s thoughts” and ending with “bad vibes.” Me: “Wow, that’s a lot of things to think about all day long.” Patient: “I KNOW.”
- 47 year-old woman who desires pregnancy and cannot afford fertility treatment: “I know I’m old, but I believe it can happen. Do you know the story of Abraham and Sarah? Do you read the bible? Do you believe it is the truth?” Me: (making mistake by answering honestly) “Well, I’m not sure if those stories are just examples for us to learn from, or truth.” Patient, becoming upset: “NO! IT’S THE TRUTH! THE TRUTH!” Me: “I can see that faith is very important to you. I always encourage my patients to have faith…it’s so important.” Patient, slightly mollified: “Yes, it IS.”
Oh Monday, why are you so full of craziness?
Regarding the first comment, I usually try to come up with a good-but-professional response when confronted with homophobic comments from patients. In this case, though, I was so distracted by wondering why she assumed I wasn’t gay (was it the pregnancy? the lack of putting the moves on her during a pap?) that the moment was lost. Sigh.