The Day The Doctor had Diarrhea
January 1, 2023
by Dr. Plastic Picker
Yesterday was an epic day. There are two doctors in our household, although I’m the only Dr. Plastic Picker, and one of those doctors had diarrhea and it wasn’t me. The reason it was an epic day, was because the diarrheal illness for that other doctor in our house, started off with excruciating generalized abdominal pain. This particular doctor has been through back surgery so I know this doctor has a high pain tolerance, but he called 911 without his Dr. Plastic Picker wife knowing during that early morning bout of abdominal pain.
What ensued was . . . memorable. One ambulance and one firetruck arrived to our house in the Pacific Beach area. The lights were flashing but thank goodness the sirens were silent. I had done a quick assessment of him when I saw him laying jesus-like in the foyer in his San Diego-style sleep-wear, moaning in his pain. It was generalized and a bit left sided, and his appendix was fine. Despite his prostrate position and my deep love for Mr. Plastic Picker, I told him “I can’t believe you called them! I can drive you to the ED. It’s 100% infectious and likely gastro.” He then at some point ran to the bathroom, and nature took it’s course. But by then the four tall good-looking EMT/fire-fighter people were nearly at our doorstep. Thank goodness I had the where-with-all to have put on foundation and drawn in my eyebrows (that had disappeared sometime in the 90s). My husband at some point returned to his prone position, but he confessed later that he was already feeling better. I helped him to the ambulance and the EMTs with training less than the 20 years we have been practicing medicine, reassured the still very handsome Assistant Boss of a specialty department that he had the best vitals that night. Outside the ambulance, the very imposing firetruck was also parked in front of our house with very good-looking young firefighters. I told them in my exasperated middle-aged Asian wife voice, “He’s fine. I checked his appendix. He has a very high pain tolerance and I think he was just scared of the pain. It’s probably gastro. He’s the chief of radiology!” Which is not true because he’s the Assistant Boss. But I was having fun playing my outraged role. Maybe in the back of my mind I knew I would be recounting this at some point.
In the end, the firetruck with the two handsome firefighters drove away. The ambulance with the equally handsome but slightly shorter EMTs let the doctor with diarrhea out of the ambulance, and his wife (Dr. Plastic Picker) walked him back into his house with the 15 year mortgage and low interest rate. His wife then ran back and gave the two young EMTs random unopened chocolate gifts and wished them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and sheepishly apologized to them. They were gracious and said, “it happens all the time ma’am.” And smiled very nicely and respectfully toward me.
The doctor that had diarrhea continued to have a few more bouts of diarrhea through the day. He still went to work to his solitary office, but likely spreading his diarrhea germs everywhere. At some point, he texted me and said he walked himself and his diarrhea germs to the emergency room to visit his ED friends and get himself an IV and some labwork. Said labwork made no difference in his clinical course, but it made him feel better.
And then at some point, he came home to greet his parents who had to take an Uber from the airport with his niece from New York. The niece is visiting from New York and that makes our children very happy to have some of that new york vibes soaking into our San Diego home. Plus she’s a cool college Sophomore. But as we were sitting and having dinner, the doctor with diarrhea was sitting in a slightly raised chair about 2 feet away from the main table and wearing a mask. Why he was wearing a mask, I’m actually not sure. He should be wearing a big diaper instead. LOL.
The doctor with diarrhea is my dear Mr. Plastic Picker and he was a big baby yesterday. But at some point after the ambulance left and before he went to work to spread his diarrhea germs, he recounted his lived experience as a doctor with diarrhea and his perspective as the patient who had panicked due to the pain – laying prostrate on the ground. And we laughed and we laughed. And in the back of my mind I thought, I hope this laughing doesn’t increase his intraabdominal pressure and a little bit of diarrhea comes out and makes me sick.
LOL. LOL. LOL.