Patient: “I think my body is shutting down” (but really I just want you to write me a doctor’s note saying I never have to go to work again d/t incurable back pain)
Me: “No, you’ll be fine. And sorry, but you need to go to work. Neurosurgery won’t see you any more. Pain management won’t see you anymore. Things are as good as they’re gonna get.”
Patient: Ok. Well, thanks for try…try…uh….”
Stands half-up, then collapses on the floor. “Unresponsive”
Nurse: OMG! Call the ambulance.
I lift up her arm, hover it over her face, let it drop. “Limp” arm performs a curious “S” shaped drop maneuver, conveniently missing her face. Vitals: 121/87, HR 84
Me: “You’re fine, ma’am. Just let me know when you want to wake yourself up and get off the floor of my office. I’ll be over here charting.”
Patient: Suddenly revives…miraculously. “What hap…happened?” Gets off the floor and returns to her chair.
Me: I have no idea. See you in two weeks.
Her little episode didn’t even make it into my note.