Shingles in the morning, beer with sushi, an afternoon off

Today we sure laughed a bunch

Over sushi and grilled rib eye lunch

    A chain saw? No fear.

    And a sip of a beer

And lemonade served as the punch

A very tough man, brought up in the era when men didn’t cry, broke into tears today when I discussed my plans. 

Another family came in.  I’ve been their doc for 22 years, delivered two of their three children, and helped them through several crises.  I gave hugs all round. 

A patient with a rash, no better with antibiotics prescribed elsewhere, had shingles.  I asked my partner and his medical student to come in and look.  We all agreed.

A baby with cough and ear infection got amoxicillin and albuterol and a note on a prescription pad saying All Smoke Outside.  The mother doesn’t smoke but the housemates do.  I’ve given out hundreds of those prescriptions, 85% of them ignored.

And diabetes, hypertension, abnormal liver functions, a cut hand, a sprained ankle, a skin lesion that didn’t need biopsy, a DOT physical, follow-up on anemia, diabetes, high blood pressure getting better, high blood pressure getting worse, adverse drug reaction, well woman exam.

Age range from under a year to well over ninety.  Two thirds of the patients spoke English, one-third spoke Spanish. White-collar, blue-collar, unemployed, farmers, office workers, retirees still working and retirees not working.

Lunch was pretty special.

My idea for my birthday party was a rib eye steak lunch with a couple of sushi platters, as Sioux City has a first-class Japanese restaurant and outstanding beef.  I had planned on footing the bill. 

It was also my going away party.

The caterer grilled rib eye steaks in the staff parking lot while the wind whipped the sunshine. 

One of my partners, knowing my hatred of tobacco and my low tolerance for alcohol brought a six-pack of Keystone Light and a pack of Mavericks.  To everyone’s amazement I popped the top on the beer and took a sip.  Though thirsty, I stopped a quarter way through.  It went well with the beef and the sushi.

The staff gave me very generous gift certificates to a local sporting goods store and to Barnes and Noble.  Cheryl, my nurse for 19 years, gave me a T-shirt declaring WALKABOUTDOC.  Joyce, another nurse, gave me a shoulder and neck massage.  Kristi gave me a toy chain saw.

I started making chain saw jokes in 1988.  Enough patients said, “Just cut it off, Doc,” that I started sticking my head out the door and say, “Cheryl, could I have the chainsaw, please.”  Then we would all laugh.

Once, when I played that scene out sixteen years ago Cheryl said, “Yes, doctor,” and we laughed.  Then she brought in an electric toy chainsaw and the laughter was uncontrollable for about five minutes.  Since then, every week or two, when I find the right timing, we pull the chainsaw joke. 

Kristi bought me a pretty spiffy toy chainsaw, it has two speeds and a throaty idle. 

Dee, who used to be our Director of Nurses, prepaid my entrance fee at an archery tournament this summer. 

Our lunch room only seats 28 but we had about 40 in the room at once.

Those of us who are accustomed to eating sushi enjoyed the salmon and mackerel sashimi, but there are those who have an aversion to eating raw fish.  I watched faces watching me consume uncooked salmon, and I watched the faces trying seaweed salad, California rolls and cucumber rolls for the first time.

I ate slowly, with great relish, enjoying each bite, not bolting my food. 

We all had the luxury of the clinic closing early.

The cigarettes went into the biotrash when no-one was looking.


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One Response to “Shingles in the morning, beer with sushi, an afternoon off”

  1. trapped4daze Says:


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