With Jimmy Fallon's and Bruce Springsteen's latest parody of Born to Run making the rounds on the internet, the song got STUCK in my head. They call this an "earworm". I call it AWESOME! What better song to get stuck on replay? It's high energy. It gets you going in the morning. I feel FABULOUS.
Naturally I started singing it in the shower. I sang it in my natural alto tenor, in falsetto, loudly, softly, and of course with great feeling. I sounded SPECTACULAR.
When I got out of the shower, I said to my husband, "Did you hear me singing in the shower? BRUCE!"
He said, (with a straight face I might add), "Oh. Was that what it was? The words were the same but the tune was different!"
Good thing I was in an amped up mood from singing Bruce and was able to laugh at myself.
I replied, "EVERYTHING sounds better in the shower when you sing it. It's like magic! I sounded GREAT."
He just smiled.
Juan has mastered the art of deflating my bubble without insulting me.
Once, when I had gained a little weight, I put on a pair of pants that were a little...snug. I asked him,
"Are these pants too tight?"
"Clothing always looks better when it fits well."
'Nough said. I got on line and ordered myself some new pants a size up. I figured it was his fault when the credit card bill came in.
So HOW do I tell my patients that they are fat, or out of shape, or need to bathe, or smell like urine, or have built up dead skin between their toes that smells just awful, or have really bad breath, all without hurting their feelings?
I take a page out of my husbands book of getting his point across with grace and kindness.
Just the facts, m'aam. No embellishment. No commentary. No gross face. No passing out or dry heaving (although I almost did that when maggots fell out of a bandage on a wound after the patient hadn't changed it for a week).
Occasionally, when I know a patient has a good sense of humor, I calls 'em as I sees 'em.
"I've gained a few pounds doc. See this on my belly?" She squeezed a handful of fat. "I think it's all water weight."
Me: "Oh, REALLY? C'mon. I hate to break it to you, but THAT is FAT. THAT is not water."
I only do that when I know someone has a good sense of humor. Otherwise, I have to resort to:
"Water weight normally causes ankle swelling. It goes where gravity takes it, the lowest point on your body. That is adipose, or fatty tissue on your abdomen..." and so on.
"I noticed that your breath has a foul anaerobic odor to it. When was the last time you saw your dentist? Do you have recurrent sinus infections?"
"Hoooey! That's some stickin' breath you have there. When was the last time you brushed those teeth? Please turn your face away when you talk because I'm having a hard time seeing through the haze here!"OR
"You have a Body Mass Index that puts you in the Super Obese Range. This puts you at huge risk for diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, arthritis, and early death. Oh, no one ever told you that you were obese before? You thought you were just a little overweight? No. I'm sorry to tell you this but our society is now 60% overweight or obese and the people around you that you think are 'normal' are likely overweight or Obese. Three hundred and ninety four pounds at Five foot two inches tall is almost 180 pounds overweight."
"Seriously? Are you kidding me? You didn't know you were obese?"
It's hard. You can't get people to change if you insult them. You have to tread that fine line between pointing out painful truths that they have closed their eyes to, and hitting them over the head with it. Sometimes the options are not good.
But I DO sing in tune. ESPECIALLY in the shower. I DO!!
(Okay. Maybe I'll take voice lessons.)