I truly wish I had magic. Not just card tricks or my amazing ability to poop fast. No. I want the Harry Potter type stuff. The sad truth is that I don’t. However, fortunately for me I have the next best thing, people who believe with every fiber of their being that I can do magic. How do I know this? Well, let me take you on a journey similar to what happened to me just a few short months ago… (insert flashback waviness here)
I walked into the room and found a young, skinny, white, male, covered in tattoos and piercings. He had enormous dreadlocks and a thin girlfriend with a similar description. I pride myself in being non-judgmental. If you want to have 200 piercings, fine. You have a tiger clawing your chest tattoo? Great. I don’t really care what you look like on the outside, but I will hold you responsible for how you act, and the choices you make. The following is not fabricated as much as you might think.
Me: Hello, I’m Dr. Brandt, what brings you to the ER today Mr. ZumbleBumble?
ZB: My belly has been providing a vibe of unjoy for like 3 days.
Girlfriend: He normally is so strong (she liked to help).
Me: Where in your belly does it hurt?
ZB: On the inside, duh.
Me: Did you take anything for the pain?
ZB: I didn’t put any poison in me, if that’s what you’re asking.
Girlfriend: I used some organic garlic yesterday, but it didn’t help.
Me: Garlic? Ok, sure. (I proceed to do a detailed physical exam)
ZB: So what’s wrong with me?
Me: Well, I’m not sure, it could be one of several things. I’d like to run a few tests to see if-
Girlfriend: We’re not really into tests.
ZB: Can’t you just to tell me whats wrong and fix it.
Me: Uuuuuhhhhhhhh… that’s why I would like to run the tests.
ZB: What tests?
Me: Well, I would like to get an X-ray and some bloodwork
ZB: Now you want to irradiate me? Just figure out what is wrong!
Girlfriend: Also, he really doesn’t like needles
Me: He has over 200 tattoos!
Girlfriend: Do you think some Acacia berries would help.
Me: How about just some Tylenol or Motrin to see if they can at least help your pain.
ZB: I believe I already explained my stance on self poisoning
So I held aloft my magical stethoscope and yelled “BY THE POWER OF HIPPOCRATES!” Healing blue light shot from my fingertips and enveloped him in a magical chrysalis of power. All his problems went away and then I took out the bongo drum I always keep with me, created a drum circle in the ER and we just vibed out the the healing throng of musical bliss. Then peace and love whooshed through the ER and everyone started dancing like at the end of a Bollywood movie.
OK, actually I just let them go.
But seriously, how do I treat and diagnose someone who refuses everything? Why did you even come in?
Imagine you are a car mechanic. Someone comes in with a car. They tell you it goes clank-clank when you get it over 20 mph, and when you hit the brakes, plumes of purple smoke shoot out from under the hood. Then they tell you to fix the problem, but you are not allowed to look at the engine.
My brother in law works in pest control. Sometimes he is called to places to get rid of rodents, bugs, or pesky critters of all kinds. Then people tell him they don’t want him to use any traps or pesticide. I don’t know what they want him to do, but I am guessing something like the pied piper, playing a delightful melody on a flute while all the burrowing wasps buzz happily behind him.
This interaction completely made me think of the following:
Also look on the right —->
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