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Good Morning Doctor! - Chapter 41

Complaining Patients

After all, a doctor is human. While he tries to be guided always by that credo which says that every patient is deserving of tolerant consideration, there are times when he feels himself wavering ever so little. And those times usually come when he is treating a chronic complainer.

I was making a consultation visit with a physician friend, one of the best and most successful country practitioners I have known. While we were driving to the patient's home he said that the old lady would expect me to listen to her tale of woe for at least an hour. "In fact, you'll be lucky if you get by with just an hour."

True to his advance warning, she talked incessantly, detailing a long list of symptoms, making explanations of her own to account for her ailments, giving her opinion than most of her shortness of breath and swelling of legs was due to the fact that she was strangely afflicted with "venous blood in her veins."

I listened as patiently as I could. On and on she talked. It seemed hours before were out of that house again. Going home, I asked my friend how he could stand to listen to her as he had had to do day after day, in all the weeks he had attended her.

"Well," he answered with a twinkle in his eye, "at first I pretty nearly gave up, but than idea struck me. All the time she is enjoying herself airing her medical opinions and recounting her maladies, I repeat over and over to myself, 'She is paying me for this. She is paying me for this.'"

  Version: World Wide Web Edition Copyright 1995 by Richard Rathe
  Created: October 1, 1995   Modified: July 5, 1999

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