Word and Image

Archive for November 19, 2011


I did a spinal fusion operation upon this woman. I won’t be mentioning names. I had already performed a neck operation upon her that turned out successfully. After the second spinal operation, she disappeared. She never returned for a post-operative visit. Six months went by and one Tuesday, she’s back on my office schedule. When she came in I said,  “Where have you been?! We did a major spinal operation and you disappeared. I’m supposed to follow up with you until the healing is complete. Where were you!”

Her sheepish reply, “Doc, I lost my insurance. I was embarrassed to come back because I couldn’t pay.”

My response, “Once I’ve done an operation, my responsibility is to take care of you until you recover, no matter what happens. It’s just the fair thing to do.”

“Well, I didn’t want to tell you, but, I did something,” she responded.

“Oh brother! What? Did she injure herself and the implants all fell apart?” I thought of all kinds of dire possibilities as she continued.

“Well, you see. After the surgery I felt so good. I was walking around and soooo happy. I went out and did something.” And with that she raised her right pant leg up above her ankle.

Yup, those are my initials. I don’t think I would have picked roses, but the initials are mine. “What?! What did you do?” I stammered and thought of her husband whom I had met some time ago and who was about a foot taller and one hundred pounds heavier than me. Just what I need, a jealous husband as if I don’t have enough on my mind.

“Oh, don’t worry Doc. My husband’s seen it and he loves it!”

I almost didn’t get a picture of this tattoo, as she didn’t return for many months. But the next time, she returned I got my shot. Some of this stuff you just can’t make up. And, the picture is the proof. After all the years of asking patients to name their kid after me, this is what I have to show.