I can't take it any more.
Common sense? Nope.
Smart folks and simple folks alike have caused me to really beef up my standard instructions for procedures and medical tests. Here's a snapshot of why sometimes I'd like to pull my hair out.
#1) Preterm labor. I have told you very clearly, "Please do not have sex. Please do not put anything in your vagina." My simple instructions could only be clearer if I added in a diagram and an interpretive dance. Why, then, do I see you in the Ob department at 3am, contracting wildly at 26 weeks into your pregnancy as you are post-orgasmic from hours of wild nookie? And now you're somehow mad at ME? Talk to sperm boy over there. Cuddles, not thrusting. Come on, now. Don't make me do the "no-sex interpretive dance". (Actually, anytime I dance, it's pretty much assured no sex will occur within a 10 mile radius. I'm not lithe or seductive. Anyway.)
#2) Clear liquids, part 1. Colonoscopies. Yeah, I get that you don't want a scope, but everyone in your family has colon cancer, so you need the test. You'll thank me after I snip out 10 pre-cancers and save you from having a colostomy and chemotherapy. But until then, please understand me when I tell you that clear liquids do NOT include STEAK, no matter HOW THIN YOU CUT IT. My roto-rooter does not work in solid dooky.
#3) Clear liquids, part 2. Colonoscopies. Yes, I asked you specifically about your alcohol consumption and prayed you told me the truth. Let me now be perfectly obvious: GIN DOES NOT COUNT AS A CLEAR LIQUID. Ok, I get that it is technically CLEAR and you can see through it, and I can see how confusing that must be to you. But for the sake of me giving you IV anesthetic, let me repeat myself. I will NOT give you IV sedation if you smell like booze. If you cannot abstain from alcoholic beverages for 12 hours prior to your procedure, then a colonoscopy will not fix the majority of your health issues and your life will not be foreshortened by a colon problem -- it will be shortened by cirrhosis.
#4) Clear liquids, part 3. GOD HELP ME. Ok, seriously? No, Taco Bell does not count as a clear liquid, either. Please quit arguing with me. I can see what was in your chalupa as it oozilates down the pike. It's not appetizing and it's a waste of everyone's time.
#5) Nothing by mouth (NPO), part 1. "But why?" Because if you drink that triple milk-sugar frappuccino with extra cream, your sky-high triglycerides (which I will be able to see with the NAKED EYE floating like little globs of noncompliance in the blood tube) will make you appear to be diabetic. Pills and insulin will follow. Is that what you want?
#6) NPO, part 2. If you have a 7:30am c-section, please believe me when I say that your 6am sausage and egg McMuffin will NOT be digested in time for the procedure. In fact, it will likely feature heavily in a repeat performance of aforementioned breakfast when you yuke all over the anesthesiologist. Do you even understand how much anesthesia folks HATE patients who vomit? Almost as much as they hate patients who are awake, which c-section patients are. Anesthesia folks don't make good small talk. Trust me, I've heard them try. They're even less chatty when covered in partially-masticated McMuffin.
#7) NPO, part 3. Same goes for scopes. Let's say I'm doing an EGD (upper endoscopy). Let's just say. And let's say you simply could not go from midnight until 8am without eating a hamburger. Let's just say. Would you like to venture a guess as to what I can see in your stomach? That's right: hamburger. Not ulcers, not esophagitis, not gastritis, not celiac disease. Hamburger. And care to tell me what happens to hamburger in the stomach after I pump aforementioned gastric organ full of air? Please refer to above McMuffin discussion.
#8) Botox. I have told you personally and then given you a paper that says not to lift, bend, strain, massage, rub or otherwise do anything that moves the botulinum toxin I've strategically placed in a few key areas. Why in the name of all that holy, would you immediately leave the office and go get a facial? After I SAID NOT TO?? And now you're complaining that your eyelid droops? Crazy folks like you make my eyelids twitch, thanks.
#9) Juvederm. Same deal. You and I have agreed that you WANT it where I put it and you LIKE it where I put it. So why, after paying over a thousand dollars, would you do anything to screw with something that affects your appearance? You can hold off on a facial for 48 hours, I promise your pores will be okay.
#10) Skin lesion removal instructions. Help me out here. When I said keep it dry for 24 hours, how did that translate to "soak neck-deep in a hot tub"? How? Is it somehow a DRY, bubbling, steamy hot tub? I am not familiar with a dry hot tub. I am, however, familiar with WOUND DEHISCENCE which is where the artfully sutured skin freakin' FALLS APART because you are a numbnut. And again, why are you somehow mad at me? I gave you these instructions both verbally and on paper. Might should have texted it, since that's the only thing you're paying attention to...
#11) INSANE BONUS. You know how, when you take antibiotics, a great way to prevent vaginal yeast infections is to consume a cup of yogurt daily? Yogurt totally works. But NOT if you place the yogurt (Yoplait. Blueberry. Yeah.) INTO your vagina. Then it totally doesn't help prevent jack. And after the first 30 minutes of "yippee, blueberry scented no-no area" then it just all starts smelling funky. Let me reassure you that I have not consumed blueberry yogurt in 8 years (either by mouth or vaginally) after a patient told me how they utilized Yoplait. ("Yoplait: It is SO good." No. Just, please. No.)
I know you've fantasized about winning.
As I was shaving my stumpy legs in the shower this afternoon, an excellent idea came to me. Don't you get great ideas in the shower? Don't most folks? No? Let's digress for a moment:
Not only do I engage in the BEST arguments in the shower -- I win those arguments every time. But it seems like most plot solutions and fabulous ideas occur in the shower. I also will get a phone call from the hospital about 33% of the time while mid-leg shave, which makes the remainder of the leg shave inherently dissatisfying, but that's another blog topic.
Okay, back to the topic at hand. Hypothetically, let's say I win the lottery, and let's set a round number of $100,000,000. Sure, the government takes 1/2, so now we're at $50,000,000. Still a nice, round number, looks cool on paper, those zeros are awful darn pretty.
First of all, I will stay anonymous. No question about it. If my magic 6 numbers turn me into a walking piggy bank, I want to donate money on my own terms and not wonder why people are being nice to me. So anonymous. Check.
Lots of people quit their jobs and go on vacation for like, years. Well, all right, but I like my day job. It's fulfilling and tough, but at the end of most days I feel like I've made a difference and am satisfied.
Vacation? I take more time off than I used to a few years ago, but I hate missing certain patients' deliveries and so vacation is a double-edged sword. More vacation won't necessarily make me happier. Whenever I take a vacation now, I do massive amounts of work before and after the vacation. It's almost easier to just keep working and spread things out.
But then that little voice inside my head says, "What about a more awesome vacation?"
Yeah, maybe I could go for that. But fancier doesn't equal more pleasant, at least not the way my plebeian brain works. The times when I've stayed at a fancy schmancy hotel, I got really uncomfortable with all the nice people helping me with bags, opening doors, etc.. No shock, if you've read anything I've ever written, but I'd rather be in a cabin in the woods.
So, no lottery money spent yet.
Fine, maybe I could take 1/2 of the lottery money and help out some family members, but thankfully most folks are doing okay for themselves. Additionally, I support some charities that could benefit from the money and I'd happily give it to them. I also have a wonderful friend back home who works full time, but has a very sick daughter and I'd set them up for life. Easy decision there.
What about shopping? Well, it's not like I can WEAR all that JCPenney clothing. And apparently JCP is the only stuff I buy, but only when it's 50% off or BOGO. Even if I do buy fancier clothes, it seems like I go back to jeans and a t-shirt more often than not. What about jewelry? Uh, no. Not a sparkly bauble kind of gal.
Writing? Ok, that's something. Yes, I would write more and work a smidge less. We're talking 5-10 hours/week of a difference in time allocation. So there's something I might do with the lottery funds.
So then I considered it: I can do most of the things I enjoy right now. I don't need a lottery. Ok, maybe not the setting up my friend and her daughter for life, but at least I can donate something (time or funds) to charities. I can set aside 5-10 more hours/week to write and take care of that desire. I still like my day job, so I think I'll keep doing it. I enjoy taking a few vacations, so I'll keep taking trips where the word "Hampton" relates only to the "Inn", which by the way has a complimentary breakfast. With Raisin Bran and OJ....
So, what would you do if you won the lottery?
Author, daydreamer, and practitioner of trying very hard to duct tape folks together and help when I can.