Friday, July 15, 2005

Benevolent Self Interest

My father was a very charming man; so charming, actually, that he could sweet-talk the knickers off a nun.

In fact, once during my college years he did just that. Well, almost. The person who we initially assumed to be a nun was really just some guy who rather resembled Mother Theresa and happened to have been wearing a penguin costume, which apparently was quite warm inside, and a fair amount of tequila had been consumed by many involved.

But that is another story altogether.

It was my father's subtle way with words, and his naive but deeply-held notions of respect for all persons. Though competitive in his fields of endeavor, he always seemed to come off as an advocate for people, even in confrontational episodes. If I am ever seen to be doing something like that myself, it is because of him.

One of the new residents was writing discharge orders for a patient who was on dialysis. Included in the prescriptions was one for PhosLo to be taken once a day. Of course, that is not how the drug is used. It is taken three or four times a day with major meals so it can do its job, which is to bind to the phosphorous in foods and prevent its excess absorption, as dialysis does not adequately clear this substance from the body.

I told the resident that I had a question about that order, and showed him that during the hospital stay the patient took it as I outlined above. Later he handed me revised discharge orders and a correct PhosLo prescription for the patient.

The reason why I am happy with myself about this is not that I did anything, as I tried to leave myself out of it and place the issue between the current orders and the discharge orders. I was careful not to appear to seem like I knew something he didn't, because heaven knows that is not a reliable stance for me to take.

Rather, I just wanted to give the resident some assurance that I've got his back. And that, I must say, is something that I learned from my father, the charming man.

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