I just came back from work and I’m trying to rub two brain cells together to scramble and make a post for Sunday. It was a difficult day. We were heavily understaffed and patients came in such numbers we it was a Black Friday sale in ED. Still despite my registrar calling in sick, I managed to hold the department together.
The revolving doors were swinging, bringing more and more patients. Together with my junior doctors, we tried to process them all and, taking the lion share of the presentations, I stumbled on this one gentleman. Older, proper English gent, and very talkative. My experience says if you let patient talk for long enough, then somewhere within the verbal deluge you will pick out that vital clue that will help you diagnose their illness. So I let him talk and it didn’t take me long to find the answer to his complaint and once I retrieved his test results I arranged for his safe discharge. And that’s when he got me. As I was giving him the paper copy of his discharge notes, the man, without malicious intent said…
‘Good girl, so efficient.’
Yup, me, a 40 odd year old Emergency Medicine consultant, was called a good girl, and I bet I was just one inch away from being patted on the top of the head. It was so inappropriate and borderline offensive that I could only laugh it off.
I know that in the world these days, there is a trend of name and shame and taking offence to everything that makes you feel uncomfortable, and yes, his words made me feel awkward as fuck, but for me as a doctor and author, it is the intention that matters. If someone wants to cause offence, especially if they are intelligent, they can find polite words to express their disdain. Still, more often than not, you meet people with no social graces, whose awkward attempts at compliments make you cringe, and those I just laugh off.
Life is simply too short for being a fragile butterfly, whose wings lose their shine under a gentle touch.
As you can see, I’m a good girl, with just a little naughty streak, so when something makes me cringe I simply write about it.