Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dr. OCD

He's what I named my blog for. He's the most thorough pathologist I've ever met in my life. His reports are a work of art. He lives in our department - he just passes through his house occasionally to make appearances. His three adult children are amazing - his wife sends out Christmas cards every year documenting their year's journey in creative ways. Last year it was the picture perfect family on the front. On the back was a picture of a game of Life, with their personal milestones written on the board.

I was so afraid of him when I first started. I'd show him cases asking one question, he would find things I hadn't seen leaving me embarrassed and asking new questions. I also worried for him - I would only show him my hardest cases because he seemed to be working so hard I didn't want to bother him with my trivialities. We have sparred, on occasion. His passion can drown me. I like to think now, in our new more convivial working climate than it was ten years ago, that I am his equal.

When one of our transcriptionists had a routine hysterectomy for fibroids, she wanted it to go to him. Because the rest of us would have treated it as a routine hysterectomy for fibroids, but not him. He looks at every fibroid as if it might be a leiomyosarcoma. He hunts for atypia and mitoses. He lets no routine case lie - he overanalyzes everything. If anyone asks for a consult, he marks every slide he looks at with a slash over the patient identifier at the top. Just in case, if any case goes to court, and there is a question that he has looked at it, the slash will tell the truth.

On occasion, his wife has tried to help him clean his office, but a few days later papers and articles multiply like rabbits around the floor. I once read an article that a messy office is the sign of intelligence. I berated myself for keeping mine clean. Currently, there are many undone projects in my office - gold star for me - clutter is good, right? If his office is the example, then I'm on my way to genius.

When the lab flooded last week, he was off on Friday. Must have been traveling, because he didn't come in. I asked Dr. Music - did you call Dr. OCD to tell him of the tragedy? He said yes, and then I heard a gunshot, and the phone went dead.

Around noon the head transcriptionist started moving his wet piles of papers from his floor to the path library, so they could dry and environmental services could do their job vacuuming his floor - everyone who got flooded (except often lonely me across the hell yea for once) was clearing their offices too. Our new doc, Melody (love her name), let's just call her Dr. Earnest, came out of her office alarmed.

"What are you doing?"

"I have to clear the area. He's not here. I'm moving his piles to this table in the path library."

"No, wait! Where did that pile of papers come from?"

"It was the one nearest the door."

"Stop, please. Until I can draw a map. I think it will help him, when he comes back. I'll map all of his piles, soaked as they are."
Here are some of his files. I hope they can be recovered. There were more, they are on a large hospital cart. We are taking care of him the best we can, because he takes care of the entire population of the state of Arkansas. And he does it very well.

She looked like Christoper Robin. We were all wearing boots that day - it was a Snow Day. Hers were bright red and full of confidence and maternal love. I thought, in that moment, seeing her take care of him in his absence, that I wanted her to be my mother in my next life.




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