Thursday, September 15, 2011

Made my day

I saw Mr. B., a 64 y/o male, for the first time while covering for a partner who was out. He came for medication refills.

Me: I see you have a bag with your pill bottles. What do you take?

Mr B.: A nerve pill, a sleeping pill and a pain pill (said with a deeeeeep southern accent).

Me: Now that's a southern accent. Where are you from?

Mr. B.: I've lived here (in Florida) for the last 40 years but I'm from L, A...lower Alabama (he then laughed).

I quickly determined that this visit could be a lot more interesting than just a medication refill.

Me: Can you tell me a little more about yourself?

Mr. B.: You bet doc. I'm just a country boy from L, A, lower Alabama (he laughs again). When I got drafted I joined the Army and was a Quartermaster in Vietnam. One day in '67 I was working on the laundry and supplies and heard a "whee" sound and the next thing you know my guts were hanging out (puts his hand over his right lower quadrant) and I had a terrible stinging in my left shoulder. I was already on my second tour and only had about a month to go but those wounds got me sent home (he unbuttons his shirt to expose a severely scarred right lower quadrant and a large keloid on his left shoulder). I've still got a lot of the shrapnel inside.

Me: Did you get a Purple Heart?

Mr. B.: Sure did. The commanding officer was real good about looking out for us.

Me: How long did it take for you to recover?

Mr. B.: Almost 5 months.

Me: What did you do after that?

Mr. B.: I just worked for one company since I left the Army; a citrus and juicing plant. I've been a foreman and then became a fork lift operator. I retired last year.

Me: Married?

Mr. B.: Yep, 42 years, three children, 7 grandchildren, no greats yet.

Me: How's your wife doing?

Mr. B.: Fine, but she had a little setback having to get her glowbladder (gallbladder) out a few weeks ago.

I was running late seeing scheduled patients, as usual, but choose to continue. This "interview" went on for almost 25 minutes.

He had another bout of laughter when he told me about getting his teeth out before he got dentures.

Mr. B.: I had 17 teeth pulled out at the same time. That there dentist said how are you gonna get home. I said what do you mean, I drove here so I'm gonna just drive myself home. A little while later my phone rang and that there dentist called me and said are you home? I said what kind of question is that? You called my house and I answered. Doesn't that mean I'm home?

Unfortunately I needed to get on with my day. I thanked him for his service to his country. I let him know it was a privilege to spend time with him.

Luckily, I also remembered to refill his medications.

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