Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I was sitting across the table from a very nervous but big, muscular guy in his late-20's, talking about the risks of surgery and what to expect post-operatively. I explained the average hospital stay for his operation, his limitations and restrictions, and about how long it will take for him to return to work.

Me: So that about covers it. I'll see you tomorrow in the OR.

Patient: [a little hesitant] ...so, what about sex?

Ah, of course. Always the most pressing topic of males younger than 40.

Me: That's not a problem, but because of the incision you're going to have on your belly, you're going to have to be on the bottom for awhile.

Patient: What about, um... uh... you know, from the back?

Me: Well, I guess that's an option, but I'd prefer if you didn't do too much moving and thrusting initially. Just because I want to protect your incision.

Patient: [Blushes] Well... it's just that my wife's a little heavy. So...

[We stare at each other in silence]

Patient: [Winking] Well, it's a good thing my girlfriend's skinny.

I give the cursory laugh at his little joke.

His operation goes fine, and I meet his wife the next day. They seem like a nice couple, joking around and the such. And yes, she's a bit heavy. Over the next several days, I get to know them a bit better and we develop a good accord.

I go into his room the other day and find my patient in mid-conversation with a thin woman. I realize that this is probably his sister from Cleveland that he's mentioned. So I introduce myself.

Woman: Hello, I'm Patient's girlfriend Celeste.

Ha ha. I grin stupidly at her continuity of my patient's earlier joke. But then confusions slowly sets in because they look quite serious. And the more I look at the two of them, the less they look related. My goofy grin slowly fades as I wait for one of them to deliver the inevitable punchline...

which never came.