It was the kind of call that can get under your skin if you let it.
The end of a busy shift.
Every prior patient obese or beyond.
Many of them actually sick.
Dinner was a couple Big Cups and an orange soda several hours earlier.
We had flung more stairchairs that night than an assembler at the Ferno factory.
My partner and I were exhausted, and now we were standing in the living room of an elderly woman who didn't seem to like us at all.
"I don't want to go to the hospital," she said. "They make me sit and wait too long."
"Ok," I said, "but you must have wanted to go to the hospital when you called 911."
"Damn right I did! I'm in pain! My hand hurts, and I can't walk! Can't you just give me something here so I don't have to go?"
We'd had this same conversation three times by now, and it was getting a little tiresome, but this patient was of a kind that we've all had once in a while.
No matter what you suggest, the patient wants to do the opposite.
I began by offering a trip to the hospital, to which the patient responded in the negative, exasperated that we'd even brought up the idea of an ambulance ride.
So when I asked if she would then prefer to wait until Monday and follow up with her family physician, since, after all, she'd had this particular pain for a decade and it was no worse currently than normal, she became truly offended and demanded transport to the hospital.
Finally, after about 20 minutes of negotiation in the cramped back bedroom of the musty triple decker, the patient relented.
And for the umpteenth time that night, my partner and I strapped our overweight patient into a stairchair and began the long descent down three floors of twisty, dark and steep steps.
We paused at the bottom just before heading out onto the sidewalk.
I had the bottom of the chair and as I bent down to grab the handles for one last time, I felt something on the top of my head.
I looked up and noticed that the patient was sitting back in the stairchair.
"That was a kiss for you," she said. "For working so hard."
It was the kind of gesture my patients surprise me with from time to time, and another example of why this is the best job in the world.
Persiflager's Infectious Disease podcast is a great site to keep up with the latest and greatest developments in the world of infectious disease.
The link also connects you to PACID, aka Persiflagers Annotated Compendium of Infections Disease Facts, Opinion and Dogma.
It's kind of a meta-site, full of links to other pages concerning antibiotics, pathogens and diseases.
My Beautiful Blue Eyes
3 days ago