* * Anonymous Doc: "Hmmm. That's a good question."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Hmmm. That's a good question."

An elderly woman and her husband come to see me.  She's the patient.

ME: "So what brings you in today?"

WIFE: "Oh, we thought we were going to see my husband's doctor."

ME: "You come to this clinic too?  Who's your doctor?"

HUSBAND: "I don't know."

WIFE: "We've never been here before."

HUSBAND: "No, I think we have once."

WIFE: "No.  I don't know.  Wait, is this my appointment or yours?"

HUSBAND: "Mine.  No.  Yours."

ME: "So, the two of you live alone?"

WIFE: "No, we're married."

ME: "Yes, I meant do you have an aide who helps you?"

HUSBAND: "No, we're okay."

ME: "And what brings you in today?"

WIFE: "It's cold."

ME: "The weather?"

WIFE: "No.  In here."

ME: "Okay.  What medical problem brings you in?"

HUSBAND: "I'm not sure.  I think we had an appointment."

ME: "Okay.  Do you remember why you made the appointment?"

WIFE: "I was in the hospital."

ME: "Oh, recently?"

WIFE: "No, I don't think so."

ME: "Okay, no one lives with you to help you?"


ME: "And what did the two of you do for a living?"

HUSBAND: "I was born here."

WIFE: "I'm not having a good memory day."

ME: "Do you know what medications you take?"

WIFE: "I think the pharmacy would know."

ME: "Which pharmacy do you use?"

HUSBAND: "I can't remember the name.  Can you?"

WIFE: "I'm not sure.  Maybe I have their card."

ME: "I'm just trying to figure out what brings you here today.  Do you have any pain?"

WIFE: "No."

HUSBAND: "I have some pain in my back sometimes."

ME: "Okay, but your wife is my patient."

HUSBAND: "Oh, sorry.  I forgot."

ME: "It's okay.  Do you mind if I ask both of you to draw a clock on a piece of paper?"

WIFE: "Should I start with the box?"

ME: "What box?"

WIFE: "The box for the clock."

ME: "If it's okay, I'm going to bring a social worker in.  I think there may be some services we can help arrange so you have some help around the house.  Do you find that you get confused at home?"

HUSBAND: "I don't know."

WIFE: "Sometimes when I'm on the toilet, he looks for me and can't find me."

HUSBAND: "When you're on the toilet, right?"

ME: "Do you mind if I listen to you breathe?"


ME: "I was talking to your wife, because she's the patient right now."

HUSBAND: "Sorry, I forgot."

WIFE: "Did we come here to see you, or did you come here to see us?"

ME: "Do either of you know what year it is?"

WIFE: "This isn't a good day for me."

HUSBAND: "It's 19-something, right?"

ME: "I'm going to get the social worker and will be right back."

WIFE: "And then you'll check us in?"

ME: "Check you in where?"

WIFE: "I don't know."

HUSBAND: "She doesn't know."

ME: "Okay.  Great."


  1. Did you ever find out who was on first?

  2. That's a really sad story.

  3. really heartbreaking. At least they have each other.

  4. at least you have a social worker in your clinic

  5. Seriously, seriously sad and scary. Where are this couple's children? (I get so much crap for having taken in my mother--and thus "burdening" my life--yet that's precisely what she's like now. People are so impossibly selfish.)

    1. They may not have had children, maybe their children died before them, maybe their children live in another state and don't know how bad they are getting, usually when they are in a familiar setting they function better.

  6. Oh, this is so, so sad.

  7. Oh, how sad. I sure hope they can stay living at home though obviously they need some help. I think they would be happier in their own home.

  8. So Anon Doc--do we get an update on your love life in honor of Valentine's Day?

  9. How much you wanna bet they live with their son or daughter...who brought them into the clinic and was, unknown to Anon Doc, sitting in the waiting room at that moment? =P

  10. I'm trying to picture their breakfast conversations.
    "What do you want to eat?"
    "Wisconsin I think."
    "Ooh they have good beaches there."
    "What did you call me?"

  11. haha hilarious :D