“I hope this is a good one, they usually don’t page me for just stitches” he announced as he walked into the exam room. As he cleaned off the numbing cream that had bubbled over his open wound he shrugged and relented, “OK, it is pretty deep, you can see his skull.”
He told us he was on his way home from seeing Chicago at Wolf Trap, he was on Baron Cameron when he got the page allowing him to arrive at the hospital in a surprising ten minutes, the fastest I’ve ever seen a paged doctor turn up.
“This is my week of call, it isn’t too bad because I only have to take call once every seven weeks or so but this week has been a busy week. On Monday I saw a gal who had been kicked in the teeth by a horse, oh wait I have a photo, hold on,” he quickly pulled out his phone and navigated to the appropriate photo. He showed Anthony and I. An inquisitive Oliver asked to see the photo. Then he told us the next day he saw a patient who had fallen off a ladder, that photo was much more gruesome and when Oliver asked to see it I quickly distracted him with talk of Paw Patrol. The doctor continued his conversation with Anthony while I snuggled Oliver and spoke to him of ice cream flavors and favorite colors.
The nurse administered a sedative in Oliver’s nostril which once inhaled produced a burning sensation. As I calmed a crying Oliver I could hear the doctor share his medical background with Anthony, his speciality being hand reconstruction. “Re-attaching severed limbs is something I really enjoy,” he said.
With Oliver fully sedated and relaxed, the doctor got to work. With bright light on he pointed out his skull and the small dent the edge of our metal coffee table had made to Oliver’s bone. I shifted my focus to Oliver’s little hand seeing the bright red light attached to his index finger to track his vitals. Moments earlier he had held his finger to my nose while I sang “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” as he sweetly drifted off to wherever he now resides. Anthony, obviously his father’s son, watched every stitch the doctor made.
“After I get through this week of call I have a few days off then a day of surgery next Thursday, I do cosmetic surgery. I used to schedule my surgeries on Friday but then I’d have to work on Saturdays to do my post-ops so I now I schedule my surgeries on Thursdays. I’m older now and I want my weekends to enjoy. I also travel a lot. My passion is hiking and my goal is to hike to the highest point in every state, I’ve done 28 so far.”
“We’ll need to schedule his follow-up appointment next Wednesday because Thursday I have surgeries then on Saturday I leave for Italy,” he said. I told him he’ll love Italy, that we had honeymooned there. He looked up from his work and shared a warm smile, giving me a glimpse of the man behind the doctor’s magnifying glasses.
My first impression of the doctor was of an egotistical surgeon. But when he finished the procedure and I felt calm, even relaxed, I realized his genius.
He finished and told us what a great patient Oliver had been. We shook hands, thanked him and he told us what a lovely family we were and he wished all his patients were so nice.
He has three more days of call and hoping he sees some interesting cases.