poured out before bed
“Doc, why you do this to people?!”
The old woman is visibly upset, her withered face drawn into a snarl, arthritis knobbed hands gesturing wildly.
“You said I would go home today and now you’re sayin’ I cain’t?! I’m already ready! This is just the cruelest thing a person can do!”
The attending places his hand lightly on our patient’s shoulder.
“We didn’t expect your numbers to go up like that. We just want to make sure you’re all better before we send you home so you don’t end up right back in here.” He slowly, sweetly explains why we need to investigate the abnormal morning lab values and how they may reflect the worsening of her disease. The little old woman’s toothless mouth puckers more defiantly with every word.
Finally, she shakes her head, the little bun fixed to the top of her skull describing a perfect arc.
“Doc, I think I know what the problem is.”
“And what is that, Ms. Jones?”
“Well, I certainly am doing enough prayin’ for all this nonsense – I have a belief in the Lord like no other. And I needs a doctor who knows the good Lord well. It’s plain to me that you’re not prayin’ enough here. You really should start prayin’ more in the mornin’s when they gettin’ all these labs.”
The smile I crack is somewhere between a gasp and a giggle.