Monday, November 20, 2006


"Alright Mr. P, turn on over and show me your business end."

Patient P, a middle aged man from "da hood" as he calls it, had obviously lived through some tough situations. You could see it in his face, his hands, and in the scars and tattoos that he had acquired during his last 42 years. He laid there in his bed giving me and the nurses a sour look, much like a stubborn child. We had to change the dressing on his open wounds, and he was definitely not looking forward to that experience.

He laid in bed with his arms crossed.
I crossed mine as well and stared at him in silence.

A staredown.

He huffed and gruffed and pouted.
I didn't flinch.
I was going to win, and he knew it.

"Aw, man! Shee-it." And with a look of sheepish amusement, embarrassment, and defeat, Patient P turned over onto his side to show us his buttocks.

Three days ago, Patient P underwent a removal of a large tumor. Due to the size of the mass, the skin couldn't be closed and he was left with a fairly large open wound which will require daily dressing changes until the wound scars in... which will likely take 4 to 6 weeks given the size of his defect. Not surprisingly, Patient P wasn't real excited to hear what we did to his buttocks in the operating room. He was even less enthused about what the next month and a half had in store for him.

"It looks great," I said. And it did. There wasn't a sign of infection and the tissues were healing in nicely.

"Aw man, you're always saying stupid shit like that. How could my open ass look good?" That comment sends the nurses into a giggling fit.

I like Patient P. I like patients like him who aren't afraid to talk to me like a person.

And he's right. How could a butt that's been hacked open look great?
I just grinned and continued with his dressing change.