The rain was pouring badly when she raced against the time and traffic to reach at work. It was not a rush hour but traffic was so slow due to heavy raining. Her mind was always busy as usual but she did not want to be late at work. The weather and traffic both were not in her favor today. She rushed but was careful looking around the highway. She tried her best, but she was still 10 minutes late. As she entered the emergency department, she saw the lobby was full with the patients. The security guard was not at his seat to open the door for her. So she was needed her badge to open the door. Well, her purse is full with equipment and books. Her daughter often makes a comment that she keep ambulance in her purse. Finding the badge in the full bag is never easy unless she dump the entire stuff on the counter.
She was trying to find the badge when she suddenly heard a familiar sound. She is familiar with the stutter. Johnny (not real name) asked her,”why are you late, you always come 10 minutes early. I am waiting for you since past 20 minutes. I was worried about you”. She responded while still searching her badge. She said,” yes, there was lot of rain and traffic on the roads”. Johnny said innocently,” I have made it on time even it rains”. She looked at Johnny,”you are very punctual that is why. Go take a seat in the lobby and I will call you as any room open”.
Johnny always listened to him so he went back in the lobby. Until then the security officer had shown up who went inside the ED to handle a combative patient. The office said,”sorry, doc inside is chaos”. She looked at the officer but did not say anything.
Johnny is 49 years old male patient with some delayed mental development. He is very innocent. His soul and mind is so simple and pure. He is not capable to understand the selfishness and complexity of this world. He come to the ED whenever he wants without any medical problem. His complains always very minor or vague which doesn’t qualify him to be seen in the emergency room or even doctor’s office. Johnny knows all the staff members. He knows who treats him well in the ED. He has an ability to recognize if any doctor treats him as a patient or not. Johnny won’t see the doctor again if he were not treated fairly per Johnny. He lives very close to the ED so he walks. Sometimes Johnny won’t even register his name if he won’t see any of his favorite docs on the duty. Johnny often come to the ED for feet pain or nasal congestion. I was in second in his favorite list because he had given number 1 to my co-worker. Johnny has promoted me to number one since my co-worker has quit from my facility and has started to work in another hospital which is 10 minutes away from my hospital. Now I am Johnny’s favorite # 1 doc.
Johnny’s turn came after 4 hrs waiting in the lobby. He never yells or get upset like other patients due to long wait. I have seen Johnny multiple times for the same feet pain. I had done all type of testing and even I had sent him to the specialist. Nothing is wrong with Johnny’s feet. Again I went to see him in exam room. He have made sure his both feet are naked for the exam. I sat by him on the chair. I touched his both feet and done the entire exam but as usual the exam was normal. I never prescribed him any medications because his ability to overdose in the past. I always give him a dose of Tylenol in the ED and prescribes some topical analgesic. Someone had prescribed him topical analgesic a year ago which he has not opened yet. I told him to discard the medicine because of its overdue expiration date. so Johnny discarded the medicine in front of me.
Johnny never forget to tell me about his mother’s death on each visit. He never forget to tell me that how his father left him when he was a child. He is happy living with his two siblings. He is proud of his siblings who work hard. He also regret that he doesn’t know how to cook. After I done with his exam, I told him to wait for the nurse for his discharge paper. Instead waiting in the room, Johnny decided to follow me which he never done in the past. I asked if he needed any additional help which he said no. Johnny stood by me for couple of seconds behind my computer screen while I was documenting.
Suddenly he said,”I went to see him yesterday”. I asked whom did you went to see Johnny. He said, “I went to see Brian in another hospital. I will go again in 2 days. I can give him a message if you want”. I laughed,”okay tell him we miss him”. So Johnny do visit his favorite doc # 1 in another facility. I smiled but one of nurses could not stop herself to tell him,” so now you start following the docs”. I can see Johnny did not like her tone.
Next day I texted Brian. He called me back and told me that Johnny frequently visit him at the another facility. Johnny have asked him the same thing if he had message for me. Nurses has made fun of his two way communication, “a free a mailman”. But I am concerned about his feet pain. Johnny doesn’t have ride so he go to see my ex co-worker walking on his feet which will be at least 30 minutes one way walking distance. So I will be expecting him in my ER frequently due to his feet pain. Technically I am not his favorite # 1 doc. I am still number # 2. But everyone love Johnny so I am happy being number two in his favorite list. The patient like him who make us smile and feel good, are not easy to find out now days. God bless him and his family.