What the H?

02/22/2010 at 5:15 AM Leave a comment

Once upon a time one of my patients had a worrisome breast cancer. It required a mastectomy and there was not a whole lot of time to get it done. Therefore the reconstruction part of it was put off for a second procedure once she healed adequately from the chemo and radiation. She was initially worried about the cancer like any woman would be, but as she did well with the follow up visits, her concern shifted to her disfigurement.

She was excited about the surgery and it went beautifully. She came in to see me after surgery and that is where a rather unusual thing happened. I saw in the chart that she was here for a follow up post surgery visit and  I opened the door. I  had not even closed it fully when she lifted her top to expose her breasts and ask what I thought. I felt that I had been transported to the infield of Pimlico with bunches of drunk coeds baring their breasts. I am trained to keep a poker face regardless of wht happens but this was so unexpected that I may have failed for a split second.

The other difficulty is that while she was inordinately happy with the result, it had only been a few days and the breasts were all bruised up and swollen. Not at their best. The last difficulty is that I am not trained to evaluate the aesthetic quality of such things ( unlike plastic surgeons that do that for a living). Actually I would get in trouble if I started admiring breasts. I look at the medical aspects of things, the details of healing, swelling, suture/staple placement, tenderness etc.

So it took me a half second to get over the shock about a full second to realize that I needed to say wonderful things about them no matter what they looked like and half a second to stop focusing on the medical deails. I never found out if that 2 second delay bothered her or not. I closed the distance between us so her breast were below my line of sight and quickly helped her cover herself up while effusing on how wonderful the result was.

Not that I was lying. Well actually I was. But what I was meaning to say was that once they healed they would look great. I felt that really the only thing that mattered was what she thought. (Perhaps what her husband thought, but if he had one once of brains in his head he would go to his grave saying they were the best he had ever seen.)


Entry filed under: Doctor Musings, humor, true story. Tags: , , .

leg follow up #2 I did what when?

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