Saturday, February 10, 2007

It's unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom.

.... this according to Ghandi.

That said, I humbly present this dialogue between myself and a 31-year-old female patient with a sore tooth.

Dr: Your upper right wisdom tooth is both broken and infected. The good news is - It should be pretty easy to remove.

Patient: Right now?

Dr: Probably take about five minutes, sure.

Pt: Hmm. But is it ok to remove?

Dr: Well, if you had a really huge infection then that might complicate things, but I think it'll be fine in your case.

Pt: No, but I's a wisdom tooth.

Dr: That is correct. And it's basically shot - there is no saving it, only a lot of discomfort if we don't remove it.

Pt: But what about the wisdom?

Dr: (Where? I don't see any...) "Errrr....I'm sorry?"

Pt: It's a wisdom tooth.

Dr. (back on solid footing) Yes!

Pt: So won't it know....

Dr: (please be kidding please be kidding please...) "'m afraid I don't...."

Pt: My wisdom.

Dr: Like, your intelligence?

Pt: I guess.

Dr: (trying really hard to not be condescending) Um, "wisdom tooth" is sort of an expression - they don't show up 'til you're older and presumably wiser...Not actually tied to any wisdom, uh..... (am I REALLY having this conversation?)

Pt: Oh. Just checking. So, can you knock me out?

Dr: (You're conscious now? Really?) Um we can get you'll feel only pressure.

Pt: What if it goes to my brain?

Dr: What, the anesthetic?

Pt: Yeah. I don't want my brain numbed.

Dr: I can guarantee the anesthetic is the least of your concerns.....

I am so not making this up.

During the extraction, this lady just about squeezed off my poor assistant's hand and kept loudly exclaiming, "I can't breathe! I can't breathe! I'm dying, I swear!"

Signs of airway distress: Short rapid breaths, physically labored ventilation, sternal retraction, cyanosis.... Hollering "I can't breathe!" over and over: not actually a sign.....

Afterwards, offered her mild narcotic for post-operative pain - "Oh, gosh no... I can't take those! They make me CRAZY!"

We wouldn't want that....