Sunday, August 5, 2012

Monsters and Heroes, Part 2

At the Office

Dr. Jones entered the clinic through the back door and sat down at his desk. He pulled up his schedule for the day and was glad it was pretty light. Only four patients this morning. He did, however, wince when he saw the last name.

“Miss Lane, I’m ready for my first patient,” he announced as he stuck his head out into the hall. He looked at his schedule in the computer again. The first patient was one week post op from an inguinal hernia repair.

Miss Lane brought the patient to the exam room, took his vital signs and left
the chart in the rack outside the door with her usual efficiency. Dr. Jones picked up the chart and noted the vital signs:

BP: 400/220  HR: 36 RR: 12  Temp: 104

“How are you feeling today, Mr. Superman? Having much pain since the surgery? Bowels working OK?”

“Good Morning, Doc,” Superman replied. “It’s still a bit sore. I’m not sure I’m ready to get back to work yet. I think I need a couple of months off. Battling some of these super villains can be pretty strenuous. I’ve signed out to Batman and Spiderman. They both said I should take as much time as I need.”

“Well, let’s see how everything looks,” Dr. Jones answered. He glanced at the chart and saw it was a Workmen’s Comp case, while Superman pulled down his tight shorts and exposed the surgical wound, which was clean, without swelling.

“Give me a cough,” the doctor asked as he put his fingers against the inguinal area.

“Cough…cough,” Superman complied.

“Looks like it’s healing without problem. No hernia. I think you can be back to normal routine in two weeks. Until then, no heavy lifting, nothing more than 5 tons. And, try to limit your flying to the local area and if you’re going to be deflecting any bullets, keep them away from your groin. I’ll see you back in two weeks.”

“You sure two weeks will be enough? It really hurts. I think I need longer.”

“Well, we’ll see how you’re doing in a couple of weeks.”

“Can I get a refill on my pain med, Doc?”

“OK, OK.”

Dr. Jones wrote out the prescription, Hydrocodone/APAP 10/325, 10-20 tabs po Q4h prn pain, #400.

“See you next week; Miss Lane will make your appointment.”

Dr. Jones picked up the chart for the next patient, I. Hulk, usually a patient of Dr. Marvel, who was out of town. He took a quick glance, saw that the patient had been started on Zoloft for depression and anger control issues.

“Hello, Mr. Hulk, I’m Dr. Jones, Dr. Marvel is out of town.”

“Glad to meet you Dr. Jones, I’m Dr. Banner.”

“Oh, I’m sorry; the chart says Mr. Hulk was in this room.”

“That’s me, Doctor. The Hulk is my alter ego. He only comes out when I’m angry. That’s what I need to talk to you about. That medication Dr. Marvel gave me. It’s working too well. The other day I saw a puppy tied to some railroad tracks. Some teenagers put it there. Of course, I should have been angry and let the big green monster handle the situation, But, I couldn’t muster even an ounce of anger, not enough to turn my pinky toe green. Well, that puppy was run over and those kids got away. I think I need to be on something else.”

Dr. Jones read through some of the notes in the front of the chart:

The Incredible Hulk smashed more than a dozen police cars during an angry rampage, sent three officers to the hospital, destroyed several million dollars worth of public property, but did apprehend a deadly, homicidal villain.

Similar notes from the last five years were present.

The court decrees that I. Hulk receive appropriate anger management counseling, a complete medical evaluation and possible pharmacologic intervention. If he refuses he is to be incarcerated in a specially constructed cell to keep the public safe from harm.

“I’m sorry, Dr. Banner, my hands are tied. The court has rendered this decision and I have no authority to change it.”

“Can’t you lower the dose or something, or try a different med?”

His voice sounded desperate and there was an edge that I didn’t like.

“I’m sorry, Dr. Banner. Dr. Marvel will be back next week. I’d take it up with him.”

At these words Dr. Banner became more agitated.

“Did you take your Zoloft today, Dr. Banner?”

“I ran out; I haven’t taken any for a few days,” Dr. Banner answered, his voice getting louder.

“Well, I’ll give you a new prescription,” Dr. Jones answered, quickly scribbling on his pad. He looked up just in time to see I. Hulk in all his green glory. The huge, green skinned mass of muscle snatched up the prescription and bounded away, smashing through the wall.

“Miss Lane,” Dr Jones calmly called out. “Could you call Maintenance, please. And, we’ll need to close Exam room one.”

The doctor shook his head. I wish these superheroes would use the door, he thought as he picked up the chart outside Room 3. He winced again as he saw the name “Zombie 332”.

“Good morning, Zombie,” Dr. Jones did his best to be polite.

“ERh…Grr,” Zombie replied.

Dr. Jones tried not to gag as he sat down next to the mound of rotting flesh, which was holding its right arm in a plastic bag. The zombie held up the bag and gestured towards the empty spot at its right shoulder.

“Now, Zombie, I told you last visit that even if I sewed your arm back on it probably wouldn’t heal. It’s unfortunate, I know, but you are dead and dead tissue just won’t heal. I don’t see the point in going through this every week.”

The Zombie stood up in a threatening manner.

‘OK, I’ll give it another try,” Dr. Jones answered. One thing he’d learned over the years was never try to reason with Zombies, just do something and get them out of the office.

“Miss Lane,” he called out. “I need some number one Prolene on a big needle and some Dermabond, actually, bring three or four.”

He set to work, spreading a generous layer of Dermabond over the rotting flesh and then doing his best to stitch the wayward arm back in its proper place.

“That ought to do the trick. Let me see you back in three weeks, but come in sooner if there’s any problem.”


“You don’t need a prescription for pain med. You’re dead already, you don’t have any nerve endings,” Dr. Jones answered, doing his best not to emulate Mr. Hulk. He quickly ushered Zombie 332 out of the exam room.

“Miss Lane, what happened to my last patient? Dr. Jones looked at the name, “C. Dracula, severe sunburn.”

“He cancelled, doctor. He’s in the hospital, admitted to Dr. Van Helsing.”

“That’s great, I can leave early. Thanks for your help today, Miss Lane. It looks like tomorrow is much busier. I hope Dr. Marvel gets back soon.”