This is a short story written by Dr Kishore Shah who is a gynecologist in Pune. This is truly a master-piece on miscommunication.
My wife is an ENT Surgeon while as I am a Gynaecologist. (In fact, we had nearly called our hospital The 'Holey' Family hospital but are now waiting for our son to be a Proctologist and marry an urologist.)
This can lead to some complications, as I recently learned to my anguish. A General Practitioner phoned me up and told me that she as sending a patient of hers for an abortion. Unknown to me, she had also referred a female with earwax for removal of the wax to my wife.
I duly informed the receptionist to send the patient right in as she was expected (and expecting!) As Murphy lays down the laws of our hospital, it was but natural that the patient who wanted the wax removed from her ear, landed up with me. This is the conversation that
I had with the patient.
"Please come in. Be seated." I said with a big smile. I always have a big smile, when I am going to earn some money. The patient gave a feeble smile and sat hesitantly on the edge of the chair. "Relax."
"Doctor, will this hurt a lot?"
"Not at all."
The patient relaxed visibly. "You know something, Doctor, we tried removing it at home, but failed."
I was shocked. "Thank God. Trying this at home can cause serious complications. "
"I first tried to remove it by jumping up and down, but it just wouldn't budge."
I smiled and said, "If it were that easy, who would need doctors?"
She gave a cute smile and said, "Yeah! My neighbour tried to remove it with his finger, but the hole is so small that he used a hair pin."
"Oh my God!"
"Yes! My mother even tried a matchstick."
My blood pressure was shooting skywards. I just sputtered without uttering a word.
"Tell me, doctor, how do I avoid getting this dirt inside me?"
I knew that it was an unwanted pregnancy, but calling it dirt was too much. I replied a bit angrily, "There are tablets which can prevent this happening. Or you could use protection at night."
Now it was the patient's turn to be confused, "You mean to say that it happens only at night?"
saw her point. "No! No! I meant anytime of the day, whenever you are in the mood, you should use protection."
She was even more confused, "It depends on my moods?"
Again I saw her point. "My mistake. You need not be in any sort of mood. It just happens."
"My neighbour advised me to go to one of those chaps who sit by the roadside."
"You mean that pin man?"
This neighbour of hers seemed to be a very dangerous man. Besides using pins, he was sending her to such quacks. The only safety he knew was among the pins. "You were wise not to heed his advice."
"But I tried his other advice. He told me to put warm oil inside and wait. However, that also did not work."
This was getting more and more bizarre. Her neighbour deserved to be locked up either in a padded cell or a barred one.
"But have you taken your husband's permission?"
Now the patient looked confused. "Do I have to take my husband's permission? Because if you need his sign, he is working in Dubai. We were not able to meet for the last one year."
It was my turn to be shocked. I gave a sly smirk. It was one of 'those' cases. The pin-wielding neighbour seemed to me the usual suspect. I reassured her. "No! No! The husband's sign is not at all needed."
"However, I did inform him on phone."
Her husband seemed to me a very broad-minded fellow. I didn't know whether to congratulate her or to commiserate with her. So I hastily turned to other aspects. "Its good that you came a bit early."
"Actually I wanted to come early in the morning, but I had some other work."
"Oh! I did not mean early today. I meant that if you had delayed this removal, it would have started moving. Then it would have developed a heartbeat."
The patient was staring at me wide eyed as if watching a horror movie. Looking at her face, I decided that she was not fit to listen to the grotesque details. I decided to relieve her a bit. I said, "You will bleed a bit, but only for a few days."
By now, the poor patient was trembling, "how-H-How much bleeding?"
"Oh, only slightly more than your menstrual period, and it will continue only for a week or so."
By now the patient was clutching her hair in her fingers and staring at me wide-eyed. I asked her soothingly, "Why don't you lie down on the examination table? Remove your underclothes and relax."
This was the final straw. She didn't even wish me goodbye. I saw just a blur of motion leaving my consulting room at top speed.
- Kishore Shah 1974