The Physician’s Bedside Manner

The patient sat with a soft tissue wadded up and placed
between his closed left eye and his glasses after having
given himself a drop in the eye at the instruction of his
new ophthalmologist the old ophthalmologist having been

late to the party in discovering the glaucoma. In an hour
the man would put a different drop in the eye having learn-
ed from the physician’s assistant that he had been putting
in the drops in too close proximity something he didn’t

learn from the highly regarded new ophthalmologist who
had been in too big a hurry hurrying on to the next patient
to give the proper instructions on how to do the drops. And
then the ophthalmologist told the patient that the respons-

ibility for success or failure in curtailing the progress of the
disease had to do with how well the patient applies the drops
to the eye. The patient thought to himself that if the disease’s
progress is stopped in its tracks the physician would gladly

take credit for the success but if the progress is not slowed
or stopped and blindness ensues, the responsibility is com-
pletely in the hands (literally) of the patient. The patient want-
ed to say to the physician, “Why don’t you just take us out

back and shoot us now so you wouldn’t have to bother to
blame us later?” but he thought better of the idea and
just sat there as the ophthalmologist rose, gave the patient
a very firm handshake and made a quick getaway.

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