Thanking a patient

I recently wrote about an Incision and Drainage I started and my attending finished (with hilarious results)
I had forgotten about one of the more important lessons learned during that procedure –

Never betray your inexperience.

It’s been a hard one for me to learn, as medical school has tested my confidence in enough ways to prevent me from erring on the side of self-assurance. My patient was in the middle of having a small knife jammed into a lump on his back – and he was being such a trooper that I felt the need to notify him of his graciousness.

“You’re handling this really well, I know it’s not comfortable”

My next words, designed to only further comfort him, could only have been the worst anyone can hear,

“You’re a great patient to learn on”

*Expletive* – I knew it the moment it came out of my mouth. Learn on? who wants to hear that the guy literally sticking the knife in your back is learning

Not I.

But my lil’ school in the south is filled with more than its fair-share of gracious professors, residents, and patients.

I shall require them all.

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