31 May, 2010


egged on by angry shouts of "hey lady!" and "poo" i return, chastened, to the keyboard. what, oh what, shall i tell you today, my patient little poultries, hm? how about a tale about a barmaid who was actually a princess!? would that do? ok.

last friday, after working for a stretch of multiple days, something i am admittedly not used to, i was having a decent sort of a day, unsullied by rude co-workers* or week-old tuna sandwiches wedged between filthy molars. in came jane,*** the barmaid from a local watering hole. when i asked her how she was, she sighed and made some sort of non-committal grunt. this was my first red flag: anyone who can't be bothered to maintain the most vestigial forms of social politeness has Issues. and hey, jim, i'm a doctor, not an ornithologist, so i don't do Issues. still, because i'm so fucking nice, i persisted and she warmed up to me somewhat.

jane: i just want you to know that i have sinus issues. you can't put the chair back very far. because then i cough. because my sinus drains. and i had a VERY late night last night, so i am exhausted and i will need to yawn a lot.

moi: ...ok. let's see if we can make this work.

moi (in my head): are you absolutely certain that your coughing is due to the mythical "sinus issues" and not to the pack a day habit that i can smell from here?

jane: i have very sensitive teeth. be careful.

moi: i will be gentle.

moi (in my head): suck it up and cope princess. sweet lord on a fucking stick. what are you, fourteen****?

this went on at length. i cleaned her teeth. i placed some desensitizing solution on them for her. i was gentle. i coddled. i smiled. i gently joked. i let her have her "sinus" cough every 32.7 seconds, as well as a theatrical yawn ever 48.2 seconds. i sat her almost vertically, so that i had to twist myself into a goddamn yogic pretzel. i was bloody nice. i accommodated. i periodically asked her how she was doing, the answer to which was a deep and heartfelt sigh. cause, you know, life is HARD. and at the end, i didn't even get a fucking thank you.

sometimes, i want to kick people in the teeth. on the island, it doesn't happen quite as often as it did in the frozen hellhole of fort mcmurray, but goddamn, some people really need to learn to put on their big girl pants and go to war.

*my temporary wednesdays in ladysmith, on the other hand, are quite sullied by a co-worker who seems to have taken instant and deep dislike to me, putting me in somewhat unfamiliar territory, seeing as i am so fucking likable** to both patients and staff.

**you think i jest, but oddly enough this is actually true: with some notable exceptions (mentally unbalanced people, every last one) i am actually very well liked at work. i save my bitterness and rancour for these here pages while my patients get the very best of me. i am heartily sorry, but you come here of your own free will whereas they get poked by me with sharp metal instruments, so it all works out in the end.

***names have been changed because i have a shitty memory.

****what is it with women of a certain age (40's and up) who act as though they have been raised on a fucking unicorn farm in the clouds? huh? she works IN A BAR, i'm pretty sure she's not made of silk, cashmere and pearl dust, you know what i'm saying?


Anne said...

But I _was_ raised on a fucking unicorn farm in the clouds. That's pretty much all those unicorns did. It was an incredibly disturbing childhood, and that's why I am the way I am today.

the polish chick said...

are you dainty, finicky, delicate, precious and special? cause you sure as hell don't come across that way. i'd bet you are a much better patient that "jane."

still, i'd love to see some pics from your unicorn childhood! got any polaroids?

Geneviève said...

Some people need to get sympathy from perfect strangers because they don't get it in their personal life. They're a bit like the people who are assholes to cashiers because they have no power in the rest of their life.

You're too good. You were certainly good to me when you cleaned my teeth. It's still hard to believe that we met as you were digging in my mouth for day old veggie dogs. Makes for a good story though.

the polish chick said...

too bad you had perfect oral hygiene and no day old veggie dogs were forthcoming. had they made an appearance, we would most likely not be friends now - not because i judge, but because i would have been too busy discussing your oral hygiene to actually have a conversation, which, sadly, is the real reason i like my patients to have clean teeth - it allows me to talk about something other than teeth.

Anonymous said...

Hey lady, great post - and I only had to check back once. Things are certainly improving around here. Thanks! That was funny!

Country Gent said...

I call it the princess factor and I see it OFTEN. These girls are raised with the gift of expectation and it seems to carry on into adulthood. I work with some princesses, see them as patients, and have even made the mistake of dating two or three. In my humble opinion, parents just need to say no more often. I'm certain they are hoping to give their children a better life than they had, and that they mean well. I see a generation of dependents cropping up. Who'll look after them and their children after the death of the responsible generation?
Of course this is just my opinion. And what the hell do I know?

jools said...

She was hungover. I sympathize.