Playing Doctor

If there’s one interesting thing about working as a copywriter for a medical company, it is this: my knowledge of certain medical conditions is growing by leaps and bounds. A couple of weeks ago, I barely knew a sneeze from a sniffle. Now, I can discuss otalgia until the cows come home, and hold my own in any conversation centering on Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Pretty cool, because just being able to pronounce those words makes me sound smart, and knowing what they mean? I feel like a five-time Jeopardy champion.

I posted something along those lines on Facebook the other day, and my friend Heidi wrote, “wanna play doctor?” (It’s okay, she flirts with Tara just as hard (hello!) but that’s a post for another day). Her comment made me realize something, though.

I do want to play doctor.

Without actually having to examine patients, that is. I still practically faint at the sight of blood, and cannot swallow a pill without gagging. But I like talking the talk, at least. I met up with a couple of former coworkers for lunch yesterday, and they were telling me about one of their sales reps who is forever sticking his foot in his mouth and making inappropriate-for-the-situation comments. “Sounds like he may be suffering from pragmatic social disorder,” I remarked. They asked me about symptoms, causes, and treatment options, and I actually had all the answers to their questions. I swear, I have never felt so smart in my entire life. The day before, I just happened to write an article on that very condition, and there I was, diagnosing it in somebody else!

I was also discussing vertigo with my mom the other day, and suggesting to Tara that her allergy symptoms may actually be associated with chronic sinusitis. Who needs medical school when there are fantastic resources like WebMD available right at our fingertips? I was tempted to go pick up a stethoscope afterwards.

Unfortunately, I’m not able to put a down payment on a new Mercedes. While I may possess some of the knowledge a doctor has, I am earning about one-fifth the salary, so my automotive choices will be confined to the Kia lot for the foreseeable future.

Maybe I can at least finagle a decent table at a nice restaurant? I’ve gotta have something to show for this sudden abundance of medical knowledge, otherwise it’s – gasp! – useless. We can’t have that, so if any of you are suffering from some mystery ailment and want a professional assessment, shoot me a private e-mail and I’ll get you a diagnosis and give you some tips for treating your condition.

You’re welcome.

Even we medical professionals like to relax after a hard day, so last night Tara and I joined my parents for dinner at a nearby winery. There was Caesar salad, wood-fired pizza, and chocolate cake. Plus wine, of course. I almost refused the alcohol because I thought I might be “on call,” but then realized there was a small possibility I was getting carried away with the whole doctor thing, so I went ahead and had a couple of glasses of Riesling.

There was a dog there, a very friendly Labrador retriever who took up residence right beside my chair. I gave him a quick once-over for canine distemper, remembered that I’m a doctor and not a veterinarian, and then remembered that I’m a copywriter and not a doctor, and proceeded to simply pet him instead. Which he seemed to enjoy. That led to me feeding him pizza crust, which he really seemed to enjoy. Both my parents and Tara told me to quit feeding him, but I couldn’t help myself. He was just so. dang. cute. When we left the winery, I wanted to swing by the store for a stethoscope AND a dog.

I’m hopeless, huh?

“Paging Dr. Petruska.” Gotta admit, that has a nice ring to it!

13 thoughts on “Playing Doctor

  1. Ha! Now I’m going to have to start reading your blog more often, since I’m sort of geeky about medical stuff. Yesterday I bought a scalpel and suture kit at the farm store so I could practice sutures on a pig leg as research for my new series. Problem is, the needle is like 60 mm and it should be about 14 for sewing up people skin. This one is for horses.

    I found some awesome videos on YouTube when I googled “how do you do sutures?” You know how YouTube is with their suggestions. I’d watched videos on how to do sutures, a severe hand trauma, open heart surgery, and a knee replacement before I had to drag my sorry butt to bed. I’m not that squeemish, but the hand trauma made me a little edgy. You’d probably faint dead away. 😛


    1. I am way too squeamish to enjoy those sorts of medical articles. I’m just glad most of my writing involves ear, nose and throat disorders. They aren’t TOO bad! Although I did stumble across a photo of somebody with tonisillitis and even that grossed me out.


  2. I don’t know if you knew this about me, but I went to school waaaaaaaay back many years ago to become a certified medical assistant in a doctors office. And part of my training was learning medical terminology, which I first thought I would hate. But what’s weird is that it ended up being one of my favorite things about the course because I found it utterly fascinating. In fact, after I graduated and put in my externship, I thought about going all the way and becoming a Physician’s Assistant but didn’t, because I suddenly realized I had a phobia about being around sick people – HA!

    “There was Caesar salad, wood-fired pizza, and chocolate cake. Plus wine, of course.”

    Sounds like the PERFECT dinner, Mark!



  3. I wrote the curriculum to teach for licensing holistic drug and alcohol addiction treatment protocols. Then did a history and description of alternative medicines, ethics for professionals,bios of pioneers in the field an so on. I made the student study guides, 600 entry bibliography, and unit and final exams. The institution granted me an MA but would now need 2,000 hour internship and state exams. I could pass the exams but at my age will not enter practice. This is all to say I know how you feel about gaining the knowledge.


  4. I accidentally took Anatomy & Physiology for my science requirement in university (this is the course nurses take), so forever after I have become my family’s go to person for medical issues. Then I made the mistake of working in a doctors office for a while & it got worse. I’m only thankful I’m not on call 24 hours a day!


    1. You accidentally took a course? How did that happen? Did you think you were signing up for Astronomy instead? LOL. (It would be cool to know where the constellation Cassiopeia is in the night sky at any given time…)


      1. Accidentally – when I was signing up for my science requirement I thought I picked the one science course without a lab. I wanted some kind of biology course. Then when I got all my information I found out it not only had a lab, it was a dissection lab. I had to dissect a cat, a cow’s eye, a baby pig. Have you ever watched the movie “Human Anatomy?” Where the exam consists of moving from cadaver to cadaver & answering questions? That’s what my final exam consisted of! The questions were like this “Identify the vega nerve. Name all the organs served by this nerve.”


  5. No Mark…you’re not hopeless….you are…delusional! I say that with the upmost respect, love and sarcasm that I can muster up….

    I understand you can go to a medical supply store and buy stuff…maybe that will help you even more with this delusion. I’m sure Tara is kicking me in the shins for even suggesting it….but I can’t help myself.

    Can you help me with my sarcastic wit? Is there even a cure?

    See…there I go again….!!



  6. I’m sorry, Tracy, but there is no cure for sarcastic wit. If there were, I’d have self-administered that long ago! But it’s okay: sarcasm should be allowed to run rampant anyway. Life is too short to take seriously, you know!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s