Papa Always Has a Bad Day

Scene: The vascular surgery workroom circa 6 PM on a Friday evening as we anxiously await evening rounds and the end of the week. My colleague and I have been the students on service for three days, but the tall, late-30’s vascular fellow has acknowledged us only to dole out reprimands in heavily accented English.

The fellow strides into the room, “Well, hello!”

My classmate, the residents, and I exchange glances.

“I’d just like to apologize that the service has been so busy. We used to have time to laugh and give each other nicknames, but times have changed,” he continued.

The residents whisper to each other across the table as he takes the seat next to me.

“And how was your day? Did you learn a lot in your lectures today?” he asks, smiling.

“Yes,” I respond hesitantly. “We learned about venous disease. And diverticulitis. I’d say it was a good day. How was yours?”

The fellow cocks his head to the side and clicks his tongue. “Oh, Papa always has a bad day. Papa’s got to make sure the family has a good one.”

I blink back, dumbfounded and lost for words.

But there’s no need for a response. In almost the same breath, the fellow demands we begin to run the list and starts barking orders. Business as usual.

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6 thoughts on “Papa Always Has a Bad Day

  1. Such a weird encounter! It’s like he became another person for a few moments there. Stories like these terrify for medical school–I hate it when people bark orders at me and criticize me, so I’m going to need to toughen up for medical school it sounds like! Good luck in the rest of your surgery rotation. Sorry I didn’t reply to your comment on my blog sooner, I started school and it’s already been really busy–you know how that goes! Can’t wait to read more about your med school adventures to get an idea of what I’ll be doing in a couple of years 🙂

    –Becky
    preppypremed.blogspot.com

    • Honestly, the order-barking people have thankfully been few and far between for me. But when your service has an intern, a PA, and a 3rd year resident on vacation and triple the number of patients as usual, people get a little cranky.

      And no apologies necessary… glad you stopped by!! 🙂

    • Oh, I absolutely referred to him as Papa the entire week after… though I had to explain it to classmates/residents because somehow NO ONE else heard that interaction, so somehow I wind up looking crazy.

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