Education Medical Alert

Ken Painter By Ken Painter, 3rd Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

Due to cutbacks in the healthcare climate in the US and the insurance industry in general, a young doctor is forced to see his patients 30 or so at a time, and share his one and only nurse with the other doctors in the building. "No Patient Left Behind" is now the mandated healthcare climate. What's good for the school system has come to healthcare. Oh fun!

Educational Medical Alert

Nurse Baditude stood with a stiff smile and her clipboard firmly in hand as
the patients filed into the minimally-appointed waiting room. At precisely
8:00a.m. a loud, blaring bell rang, and so she began a cautious announcement
to the seated attendees.

“Thank you all for coming.” She forced her best political grin and continued.
“Due to severe cutbacks in the health insurance industry and the medical
profession in general, we now find it necessary to see all our patients at the
same time, and so that’s why you’ve all been gathered here today.”

The hands shot up like fireworks, and some of their owners didn’t wait to be
called upon.

“But I’ve gotta be to work by nine,” shouted a thin man rising in protest
from his seat in the back. “How long’s this all gonna take?”

“Well, sir, we should be all wrapped up by four this afternoon. Now if you’ll
just be seated, we can get started.”

Two more patients, an elderly woman walking with a cane and her daughter,
entered the room to find that all the seats had been taken.

“I’m sorry ladies, but you’re tardy,” the nurse chided. “We have 32 patients
scheduled for today and only 30 seats, so you’ll have to sit on the floor or
over there on the window ledge.” She pointed to the window in the rear
where the hot sun came beaming through.

The elderly woman was about to protest, but the thin man jumped up and cut
her off. “Aw, never mind. I’ve gotta go. Here you go, ma’am, you can have
my seat.” He shot a parting look of disgust at the nurse and beat a retreat
to the door while the elderly woman’s daughter sat on the floor next to her.

“As I was about to say,” Nurse Baditude droned, “the doctor will be here in a
moment, but first it would be a good idea for any of you who are chewing
gum to deposit it in the red container on the wall behind you.”

There were no hands this time. A young man with a gold ring in his nose protested, “Why do we have to do that?!!”

“Because that’s the rules! Chewing gum is against the rules!”

Several muffled obscenities later, those who had been chewing gum
reluctantly deposited it in a waste container marked Hazardous.

Before the nurse had completely disposed of the waste container episode, a
fat man interrupted her with a question. “Since we’re gonna be here for
awhile, what’ll we do about lunch?”

“Oh, lunch will be provided for you.” Nurse Baditude smiled at the suspicious

“Yeah?” The fat man continued, “What’ll it be?”

The nurse questioned the sensibleness of answering this so early in the
morning, but all eyes were looking at her intently waiting for a reply, and she
really didn’t need an uprising on her hands, so she confessed, “You’ll be
served prepackaged, individual slices of cheese pizza between 11:45 and
noon.” Her confession was met by a chorus of moans.

As if on cue, the young, blond doctor entered the waiting room pushing a
portable chalkboard. He moved slowly over to Nurse Baditude’s side and
whispered into her ear. “Should we arrange them alphabetically by their
name or their complaint?”

“Let’s do it by complaint today, just for a change of pace.”

The doctor nodded his agreement and waited for his introduction. “I’d like
to introduce you all to Dr. Dotoolittle who will be examining you today,” the
nurse began, “ but before he does I’m going to pass out these pretests for you to fill out. Please make sure that you print legibly.”

“Nurse, I don’t have a pencil or a pen,” complained a voice in the second row,
and several other voices agreed with her.

“What!” The nurse scolded, “You came here unprepared?”

Her frown was met with an angry silence and the sheepish nodding of heads.

“Oh, very well then!” Nurse Baditude disappeared behind a counter for a
moment and returned with a box of cheap ink pens marked Blarney Drugs &
. “Remember,” she warned them, “these are only loaners!”

While the patients filled out their pretests, the doctor kept looking
nervously at his watch. After a few minutes he announced, “Please try to
hurry up. We have Nurse Baditude for only a few minutes more.”

“Only a few minutes more!” The pregnant woman on the right sounded incredulous.

“That’s right,” the doctor announced. “Due to all the economizing, our good
nurse serves all the doctors in this building only twice each week. We’re
lucky to have her today till 8:45 and then again on Thursday from 1:45 till
2:30, and that’s it!”

The sporadic grumbling peaked into a rousing crescendo as the patients
turned in their pretests. Nurse Baditude arranged all of the patients on the
chalkboard alphabetically according to their complaint and then waved good-
bye to the forlorn group to assist a proctologist on the second floor.

After her departure, the doctor looked at his patients and announced, “Okay
class, try not to be shy. Just try to think of this as Show and Tell.” Nobody
laughed at his weak attempt at humor. “Okay . . . Well, first up is Mr.
Zimmer and his arthritis.”

A bald man of 50 limped forward to be examined by the young doctor.

After a few moments of poking and prodding on Mr. Zimmer’s knees, Dr. Dotoolittle announced, “I need some x-rays of both knees, so please go back
and have a seat, and when we get to the X’s I’ll send you down to the X-ray

But why can’t I go now?” Mr. Zimmer protested.

“Because X-ray begins with an X, and so I’ll deal with you again when we get
to the X’s.”

“But you’ve already started dealing with me. Can’t we finish up now?”

“Look, Mr. Zimmer,” the doctor explained, “I have more than 30 patients to
see today, and we have a precise plan to accomplish all of this. We need to
follow the rules. Now the rules could have been that we go in alphabetical
order according to your last name in which case you would have been the last
patient on the list today, so be thankful that you were seen first because
arthritis begins with an A,” the doctor fairly well shouted at him.

With his back turned away from Dr. Dotoolittle, Mr. Zimmer muttered under
his breath, “Yeah, and you’re and idiot, and that begins with an I,” which got
a laugh out of the first row of patients as he shuffled away to his seat.

“I beg your pardon, “ the doctor replied, but he wasn’t sure that he’d heard
correctly, so he didn’t pursue it. “Next up is Mrs. Tenderfoot and her
bunions,” he loudly announced ignoring the bald man’s glower.

As Mr. Zimmer took his seat, Mrs. Tenderfoot joined the doctor in front of
the group. After she removed her shoes the doctor carefully examined
both of her feet and toes and announced, “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I’m going to
need x-rays of your feet, and so you’ll have to wait back at your seat just
like the previous patient.” He shot an angry glance over at the arthritic.

Mrs. Tenderfoot opened her mouth to protest, but she quickly shut it again
remembering the last futile attempt, and she quickly resumed her seat along
with the others.

Dr. Dotoolittle continued on with Mrs. Hack’s cough, and he encountered no
further disturbances until he called for Mr. Ringgold and his hernia.
The young man with a possible hernia crept to the front of the room where
the doctor found it difficult to take his eyes off the ring in the patient’s
nose. “Drop your pants, please,” the doctor ordered.

“What? In front of the group? No way!” Mr. Ringgold protested. “Isn’t
there some other way we can check this thing out?”

The doctor thought for a moment. “Perhaps if you loosen your belt buckle, I
could reach down inside without you dropping your pants, but I need to touch
you, and you’re going to have to cough. I just don’t know how else I can
examine you.”

The young man looked skeptically at the doctor, but it was obvious that he
was in pain, and so, without saying another word, he unbuckled his belt.

Dr. Dotoolittle carefully slid his gloved right hand inside the young man’s
pants and placed his fingers in the appropriate spot for a hernia check while
the whole group looked intently on. “Now turn your head, please, and cough,”
the doctor requested.” And then switching his fingers to the other side,
the doctor said, “And again.”

Removing his hand from the patient’s pants, the doctor announced, “I’m
afraid that I have both good news and bad.”

Mr. Ringgold, still somewhat shocked by the public examination which had
just transpired, stood stony-eyed waiting for the verdict.

“The good news,” the doctor began, “is that you don’t have a hernia. The bad
news is that I need to send you down to X-ray to find out what’s causing
your pain.”

“Awwww!” The young man’s protest came out loud and disgusted. “No way!
I’m not waiting around like the others to go down to X-ray!” At the mention
of the others, Mr. Zimmer, Mrs. Tenderfoot, and four more who had been
waiting for x-rays stood up and joined Mr. Ringgold in front of the doctor.

With a look of bloodlust in their eyes, these unruly patients formed an angry circle around Dr. Dotoolittle. They began closing in on him, closer and closer
and closer, until . . .

“Aaaccchhh!” The young doctor awoke in a pool of cold, thick sweat. Sitting
bolt upright in bed, he glanced over at his husband, a fifth-grade teacher,
and he was sorry to notice that he had startled him awake.

“Is everything okay, Luv? What’s the matter?”

“Oh.” the doctor thought about shrugging it off, but instead he offered, “I
just had a weird dream.”


“Yeah. I was examining my patients all at the same time in what seemed like
a classroom, and that was causing a lot of problems. I wanted to kill a couple
of them, and some of them would have killed me!”

“Dude, in the future do I need to leave you home from Parent-Teacher Night
at school?”

“No . . . no, Luv. It’s just that I suddenly realized . . . I don’t know how you
do it.”

“Well . . . it takes a lot of patience, and practice . . . even prayer oftentimes.”

The young doctor thought about his clinic: all patients, prescriptions . . . and
profits. “We need to talk about this some more in the morning.” He heaved
a big sigh as he rolled over.

“Okay, Doc, whatever you say.” He smiled as he, too, rolled over, and he
vowed to himself to drag his hubby back into that classroom every chance he
could get.


Classroom, Education, Educational Centers, Educator, Humor, Humorous Story, Teacher, Teaching

Meet the author

author avatar Ken Painter
Retired Chicago public school teacher. Singer, songwriter, musician, author, & opinionated old curmudgeon. Married to my husband & living in Colorado, USA. Also a father & grandfather.

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