[This was originally written for a Christian campus publication, Revisions.]
The patient came in for a refill of pain medications even though it was his first visit to the family medicine practice. The front desk staff had a letter for the supervising resident from the patientâ€™s previous doctor, which the resident read out loud to me: â€œDue to difficulties in our doctor-patient relationship, we regret to inform you that we can no longer serve as your primary care physician office.â€
The residentâ€™s eyes widened with recognition. â€œAh! Iâ€™ve heard about him. They said that this doc was a saint for seeing him for so long, something about him being non-compliant and allÂ that.â€
It was my job as the medical student to figure out the rest of the story. His name was Mr. Thompson* and he had a dizzying array of pathologies. He was friendly and talkative throughout the interview, but I harbored a deep mistrust for him beneath my own pleasant and cordial exterior. I had been charmed and lied toÂ before.
His chief complaint was not, in fact, a need for pain medications. It was a set of extensive and painful leg ulcers, which remained hidden underneath his pant legs. As he rolled up his clothing to reveal the layers of bandages covering both calves, a nauseating stench filled the small room. My eyes began to water and I wondered if it smelled of gangrene. Then I wondered if it would linger on myÂ clothes. [Read more…] about Hands and Feet