9 things I wish I could tell my patients
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I have a long-cherished fantasy of being able, for just one day, to say what I really want to say without negative consequences. Here are some of the several hundred things that pass through my mind on a daily basis.
1. “Your illness is a consequence of your lifestyle, and you’ll be nickel-and-dimed to death by your poor health if you don’t get a handle on it.” NOTE: Sometimes, I say something akin to this, but it’s gentler and more positive.
2. “One drink a day is two ounces of hard liquor, not one 40-ounce Super Big Gulp cup full of gin.”
3. “You’re welcome to scream all you like. I’ve heard it all before, more than once, and it won’t get you that medicine that starts with a ‘D’.”
4. “No, you may not go back to using speed, even just to study, now that we’ve clipped your aneurysm.” Okay, that one I actually did say, just like that, once.
5. “I know it’s not your fault that you were injured during cardio, but please try and time your next visit around your bathing schedule.”
6. “You have no idea how many times somebody has made that joke [about drugs or pain meds or nurses’ reputations] to me. It was funny once, 10 years ago.”
7. “How the H-E-double-L have you been walking around like this for so long?”
8. “You’re being a champ, but this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me.”
9. “We come bearing pills and therapy. I think we’ve earned a few minutes of quiet.”
What are the things you wish you could say? Share them with us in the comments section below!
Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at email@example.com.
By Agatha Lellis