Maybe it is because we are coming to the end of a very long journey that I find myself longing for days gone by. This week in particular I have been thinking about some of the more interesting things we picked up or heard during medical school from different preceptors. Notice how freely I used the word "we" as if I were there? It certainly feels like I was, and yet I wasn't.
During your third and fourth year of medical school the classroom lectures are over and you are thrust into a clinical setting with various specialties. I suppose the exercise is meant to help you figure out what you want to be when you grow up and see examples of the good and bad. And in our case it provided for my entertainment after each rotation.
There was this really old family medicine gentleman who worked in a retirement community. When I say old, I mean he was certainly of retirement age, but situations were such that his accountant had stolen money from him and while he should be enjoying his golden years he was required to work well past his planned retirement date. (Note to self: get a good accountant and have the books audited annually by a third party.)
You can imagine that his attitude toward patients and medical students was somewhat tainted by his financial predicaments. He is what you might call a grumpy old man. In his practice he did just about everything, except prescribe certain medications. He told patients straight up "NO", and they didn't like it. He had no problems telling a patient exactly what their problem was, even when those problems were not medically related.
He also liked to give the most disgusting jobs to the medical students. Like clipping toenails that were nasty. Or digging things (more nasty) out of some one's belly button. This community had lots of men in need of prostate exams, too. Fun times.
And then there was another man whose office was in a downtown strip mall, next to a strip club. Classy place. His clientele seemed to be heavy on the drug seeking variety. The doctor was part social worker, part doctors, part pastor. He did it all.
To this day I really wonder if he even when to medical school or if he acquired his MD from an online university. It wouldn't have surprised me. Now that I think of it maybe his office was a front for a drug operation - that would make more sense!
My husband always came home with the best stories and words of wisdom from these preceptor. After all these years, these are the two gentleman that I remember out of the 15 or so different preceptors he had.
I had always thought that family medicine was kind of boring and mundane, but after hearing stories from these two family practice docs my tune has changed. It may be possible that family medicine is where all the action is and the regular hours.
I still get to hear stories every once in a while, but it seems the people he works with now are more normal and less fringe. Fringe makes for good stories, normal is not nearly as much fun.
People are fascinating, and their doctors are too!