poured out before bed
“Oh NO Mullberry! NOT Dr. McDomineering! Oh ugh, he’s terrible!”
This is not what I wanted to hear from my favorite clinic nurse concerning the specialist physician I will be working with today.
“I’m so sorry, hun. He’s a student eater… Come to think of it, he’s also a staff eater. But you’ll be OK – just put on your game face.” She pats my shoulder. I give a half-hearted grimace accompanied by a diminutive “Mew.”
Dr. McDomineering comes roaring in shortly thereafter and, true to his reputation, he is glaringly rude to the nurses, whining about everything from the order of his patients to the color of the patient charts. I must then watch him chew out an MA and a clinic liaison within the first 15 minutes of our encounter, towering over them, his belly fat jiggling as he jaws on. Of course, the chewings are more related to how he prefers his meat cut than the nutrition and palatability of the meal.
He makes me nauseous.
The first two patients are no shows, having called in earlier, pleading the viral gastroenteritis that’s been running rampant through these parts. Witnessing Dr. McDomineering interact with his staff, I begin to wonder if their diarrheal illness is linked to an aversion towards a particular care provider…
But not all patients have been scared away. The first roomed customer is a 4 yo referral who will need to have surgery. Luckily, I’ve some knowledge of the indications for this surgery and a general idea of the procedure, so survive the gruff pimping the good doctor dishes out before we head to the exam room. (Phew!) As we knock, I hear the whimpering of a little girl none too pleased at being in a doctor’s office. I feel instinctive dread imagining how Dr. McDomineering will handle the situation.
Yet, as we enter, I notice a marked change in said doctor’s demeanor. He melts. Suddenly, he is shorter, jollier, softer. He gets down on one knee and in a voice two octaves higher than I’ve heard addresses his patient.
“Good morning, Emmy! My name is Dr. McLovey and I’m so glad you’re here today. We get to look at pictures and talk with mommy and daddy together. And, oh, we get to pick out a prize at the end of the visit too! What’s your favorite color, dear?”
Little Emmy steps forward shyly.
“Pink,” she says, twisting the ear of a raggedy teddy bear.
“Oh my gosh, we have all sorts of cool pink prizes! But first let’s look at the pictures they took of you last week.” He sits at the computer and pulls up an image. Emmy skips to his side as her parents lean in. Using living room language and making sure to include Emmy in the conversation when possible, he reviews the pertinent findings, talks about the options, the research related to treatment and outcomes.
Now, I have seen a lot of really excellent physicians, fabulous clinicians, researchers, and educators interact with patients and families. But I have NEVER seen someone this adept at explaining a very complex problem while soliciting questions and answering them simply but fully. I am shocked.
So are Emmy’s parents when she jumps up on the exam table for Dr. McLovey and sits quietly – save the occasional giggle – through the exam.
“I’ve never seen her so at ease!” her mother exclaims, shaking her head in disbelief. “I was prepared to hold her down like always!”
Dr. McLovey just smiles.
At the end of the visit, out comes the basket of prizes, and Emmy shrieks with excitement over a pink bracelet among the bubbles and balls and books. Her parents are effusive in their thanks, laughing when Emmy asks “Can we come back and talk with Dr. McLovey tomorrow?”
As soon as he’s ushered the family to the the hall, Dr. McLovey grows about 6 inches, his features harden, his brows draw together atop his token grimace. But I just smile. He cannot fool me for his baa-full attempts at blustering.