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Waiting Room Advising

I’m spending a bit of time in the orthopedist’s waiting room these days. Perhaps, actually, more in the PT waiting room – but that only comes in little blips. The orthopedist isn’t quite as good at keeping the waiting time down.

That aside, waiting rooms are funny. Really, people in waiting rooms are funny. Some are engrossed in their smart phones. Some have a book. A few chat quietly with a companion. But the funniest ones are the ones there by themselves who have brought no other distraction. I guess I would fall into that category. Oh, I have my kindle but I leave it in my bag. I have more fun watching and listening to the singles in the waiting room.  They are all experts on their own condition.

Mery, “my” physical therapist happens to come through. She is dropping off some business cards to Dr. Miyamoto. A woman (call her woman A) recognizes her and starts haranguing her about her symptoms. Mery listens, wishes the woman a good appointment and assures her she’ll see her soon. Never one to miss a beat she asks if “she gets to see me” today, too. (Nope. Dr. today, PT tomorrow.)

Things settle back and the woman next to woman A, we’ll call her woman B, says to her, “I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation.” She proceeds, then to diagnose and recommend a doctor and treatment for woman A. This is fascinating to me. Complete with inaccuracies, mispronunciations and a plethora of completely unfounded conclusions, Woman B has managed to project her ailments on Woman A and, in the name of “helping her out” may have introduced a whole lot of new complications.

I say nothing. What can I say, really? It’s just amazing to me how we become such expert medical personnel and presume that when there is some similarity in situations that “You just must have such and such. You should really see Dr. So and So. He knows all about that.”

True. Medicine is an art and not a science. But thank goodness the ones who practice the art have a whole lot of science behind them AND put due diligence into determining the details. Diagnosis without this is pure projection.

I wonder how much we do this on a regular basis. I wonder how many people are eavesdropping on my conversations and shaking their heads.