Doctors aren’t God, but they should be awake

Categorized as 09/12/11 Goshen News column

I’m sure my eyebrows spiked upward, hovering somewhere high above my keyboard when I heard him say it.  It was just another day in my home office, and I was transcribing just another report when the physician slipped it in.  “The patient,” he said, “has a fasciculating pectoral muscle.”  He delivered this startling tidbit in a pleasant, benign tone such as one might use to remark on the weather or to declare a preference for cornflakes.  I think I gasped.  A fasciculating pectoral?  What on earth?  It sounded serious, and I couldn’t help but wonder about the ramifications of his condition.  Would it precipitate a crisis if it happened in public?  And what if it flared during praise and worship?  “Why, the poor fellow,” I remember thinking.  “He can’t help it if his muscle is doing whatever-it-is.”  Curious, I rushed over to Google (my inquiring mind needed to know), and there it was.  “A muscle twitch,” it said.  Oh.  A twitch, huh?  Well, why didn’t the doc just say so?  It would’ve saved me some time, that’s for sure, and a certain amount of my own fasciculating.  It was in a more recent report, however, that I saw myself.  I was typing a letter on an elderly patient, a female, when the doctor dropped this observation into the patient profile section, “At this time, in questioning Patient So-and-So, she appears to be fairly happily demented.”

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