Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Medical training vs common sense

I'm a patient again. Much like what happened sometime in 2007, a random tiny scratch to the surface of my skin blew up into a cellulitis over my right jaw and temple that has me looking half as round-headed as Charlie Brown. I had a perfectly normal yearly checkup on Friday, and by Sunday night was febrile and wracked with chills.

Being relatively smart, I went to Urgent Care Sunday afternoon, so I was already downing antibiotics, and I was sure that this infection was unrelated to a minor surgical thing I had done to my right cheek earlier in the day on Friday. Nonetheless, I thought it courteous to let the Derm Surgery people know I was blowing up, and taking antibiotics. Naturally enough, they wanted to see me again today.

It was a silly visit, all in all, but I kept reflecting that if I were the provider rather than the patient, I'd want that patient to come in. The surgeon nodded, listened, looked, and agreed that I was doing all I could, or should. Then I mentioned that maybe I'd start warm compresses a few times a day, just to help the lymphatics drain. And he said something I think is incidentally hilarious:

"Well, that's just symptomatic relief."

I mean, we just got done talking about my regimen of two antibiotics. It's not like I gave any indication that a hot washrag is my idea of a cure. Also, he knows I'm a PA.

So I said "well, yeah," when inwardly what I meant was "no shit, it's just that my awareness that there are bacteria isn't what's making my face hurt, and while I wait for them to die I'd like to control the symptoms." Symptoms are by definition those things that are bugging the patient. Relieving them seems like it might be worthwhile.

I know what he meant -- controlling symptoms is not the same thing as treating a condition, and things that make you feel better don't necessarily make you better. But it's clearly such a reflexive thing for this guy to say, and he must have said it so many times, it just struck me as funny.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

We're funnier when we're not trying

Actual exchange between my wife and me, early in the AM when we both had been asleep...

Teslagrl: Hey. Hey, wake up.

Feb: Huh?

T: You were making weird noises.

F: Oh. Sorry...

T: Goodnight.

F: ...I was dreaming about watching The Disney Channel.

T: Well, you were making noises.

F: Were they noises that sounded like Nick Jonas?

T: If Nick Jonas had a seizure, maybe.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Coolest %@$#ing Thing I Have Ever Seen (on YouTube)

Imagine you're a 15-year-old kid from Santa Cruz. Now imagine you're a Green Day fan (not so tough for me, as I love me some Green Day). Imagine also that like a lot of 15-year-olds, you spend some time in the basement or garage with your guitar.

Okay, now imagine that you're pretty good. So good, in fact, that when you go to the concert at the hockey arena, you don't feel you're bragging when you hold up a sign saying "I CAN PLAY JESUS OF SUBURBIA" (which, for the uninitiated, is a lengthy song-suite from a kickass album, kind of like the kind the Who used to make).

Now's the fun part: because this is Green Day, and because they're awesome, there's this thing that sometimes happens at their shows...