Thursday, August 19, 2010

Reflection on a Thursday: Seinfeld Reincarnated

One of the medical students told me recently, "Your life should be a reality TV show. Seriously."

I think he was right. My life is this amalgamation of "only Manning" moments that one would have to see to believe. It never fails. I have a "Seinfeld moment" every single day at Grady. Sometimes more than one.

Like today, for example, I was rounding with my team on our post call rounds. We were on the last of our ten new admissions, and the interns and I decided we'd make a pit stop at the Coke machine. Got my usual: a icy cold Diet Coke. Aaaaahhhh.

I tried to open it to take a sip. . . .grrrrrr. . . . .thought maybe my hand was too oily or something. Dried my hand off in my lab coat pocket and tried again . . . .grrrrrrrr. . . . . . dang, this sucker is screwed on tighter than I thought. Kept walking with team to last patient.

Now standing in front of room of last patient. Listening to Marc, one of my interns, tell me about his patient. Periodically. . .grrrrrr. . .struggling to . . .just. . . get . . .this . . .grrrrrr. . . .open. . ."Yes, okay, go on". . . .grrrr. . . .

Finally, Ben, the other intern, can't stand it any more. He steps in to help his damsel attending in Diet Coke distress. Kind of like Harry always does with a jar of unopened salsa, he did the silent hand wave signaling that with a simple pass it will be opened in an airtight-stopping, manly snap. No shame in my game. I hand it over. Marc politely pauses.

"Thanks, Ben. Go ahead, Marc."

Marc keeps presenting. I keep listening and writing on my billing card. . . . and, okay I'll admit it. . . periodically checking Ben's work with the airtight Diet Coke--more because I think it might explode in his face and not so much because I don't think he has the brawn to get it open. (I'm just saying.)

"Clinically, the patient looks much better than she did on yesterday," said Marc with that post-overnight frogginess that gets into one's voice after being awake for too long, "If things keep going in the right direction, we can aim for a discharge early tomorrow morning." In we go. Diet Coke waits on counter until we finish seeing the patient.

Eight minutes, one physical exam, one assessment and plan, and four or five Socratic questions later, Ben is still in the corner struggling with that bottle. Our fourth year med student, Barb, has even joined in on the task. Marc and I stop and just look at them--passing this bottle of Diet Coke back and forth. Ben's face is turning red with hypermasculine struggle. It's a pretty funny sight. Marc offered up a weak, post-call mini-smile (which, in itself, amused me.)

I can't help but start laughing at Ben's crimson face as he worked on getting his attending's thirst quenched. "Dude! What's up with you and this Coke? This will be reflected in your evaluation!"

Deadpan Ben hands the drink back to me and shakes his head slowly. He says to me with the most somber face he can muster, "Bad news, Dr. Manning. Your Coke is broke."


"Your Coke. It's sealed shut," chimed in Barb with a snicker.

"Say what? I have an imperforate Coke?" (Recognizing my extremely lame use of medical jargon.) I study the cap incredulously--fused shut into one infinite plastic piece. Wow.

"Yes. It's official, Dr. Manning," Ben confirmed, "Your Coke is indeed broke."

A broke Coke? Seriously? Seriously.

See? This is my life. I just show up and live it, man.

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