Reader's Digest

The Doctor Is In(sane!)

Getting medical treatment is never fun, except on April 1

- By simon rich from the Book hits and misses

dr. #1: You wanted to see me, sir?

dr. #2: Yes, Dr. Metzger. I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. I’ve been receiving complaints from your patients, and I’ve decided I can’t allow you to make April Fools’ jokes this year.

Oh my God.

I know you’re disappoint­ed, but my mind is made up. What about the one where I tell the patient I’m out of anesthetic?

No.

What about the one where I put on a janitor’s outfit, grab a scalpel, and walk into the operating room just as my patient loses consciousn­ess? So he thinks he’s about to be operated on by a janitor?

No.

What about the one where the patient wakes up after his operation and I start shouting, “Where’s my stethoscop­e? Where did I leave my stethoscop­e?” And then I stare at the patient’s torso with a look of horror, like I maybe left it inside his body?

No.

You can’t do this to me! April Fools’ Day is the highlight of my year. It’s the only reason I finished medical school—to experience the holiday as a doctor.

I’m sorry, Sam, but my hands are tied.

What about the one where the patient wakes up and I’m wearing a robot costume, so he thinks he’s been in a coma for 80 years? And I’m like, “Welcome to the future, Mr. Greenbaum. The world you remember is gone.” You know, in a robot voice. So he thinks I’m a robot.

I get it. The answer is still no.

How can you be so cruel? I mean, for God’s sake, what happened to the Hippocrati­c oath?

“First do no harm”?

That’s how it goes? Yes.

You sure it wasn’t something about April Fools’? Yes.

What about the one where I tell the patient his kidney operation was a grand success, but then, while I’m talking to him, I have an intern come in and say, “Dr. Metzger, you’ve got some dirt on your left shoulder”? And I start to brush my right shoulder. And the intern’s like, “No, your left shoulder.” And I’m like, “This is my left shoulder.” And he’s like, “No, it’s your right shoulder. What’s the matter with you, Dr. Metzger? Don’t you know your left from your right?” And then we both look at the patient’s torso with a look of horror, to imply, like ... I know where you’re going with this. ... to imply, like, maybe I operated on the wrong kidney? Like, maybe I did the left one instead of the right one because I don’t know the difference between my— No.

At least let me workshop it! I’m sorry, Sam, but my decision is final. (Pause) April fool! No way! I can’t believe you bought that!

Man, you got me good! Guess that’s why you’re the head of surgery. Pass me my robot mask. It’s time to make the rounds. From the book hits and misses by simon rich. copyright © 2018 by simon rich. reprinted by Permission of little, brown and company. all rights reserved.

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