imperfection

He had just had a total hip replacement one week ago. He is still in a lot of pain, as one would suspect after all the sawing, drilling and cutting that he had underwent seven days earlier. After being greeted by his girlfriend, who happens to be an occupational therapist, I greeted the patient in his dining room where he was sitting reading the paper.

After taking his vital signs, I asked him to stand so that I could take measurements of the edema in his legs. His discomfort was visible as he moved from sitting to standing. When I was completed measuring the girth of his lower legs, I encouraged him to sit back down, again watched him grimace in pain as moved back into the chair. After two minutes, it occurred to me that I still had to inspect the incision on his left hip; I was going to have to ask him to get up again. I said to the patient, “I’m so sorry, a smarter therapist would have actually actually remembered to check your incision while you were standing the first time.”

His girlfriend responded, “It’s not that your not smart enough, it’s just that physical therapists are not perfect.”

“Believe me, I know,” I said, “I write about it every day.”

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