Is the ink on my diploma dry yet?

I have this defining personality trait (we won’t call it a flaw): I’m curious about everything. In college, I took to research like a duck does to wet and never looked back. Living in ground zero of the AIDS epidemic in my younger adult years, I joined the treatment advocates and immersed myself in things medical and pharmacological. Later my pursuits of medical knowledge extended into other areas as family and friends succumbed to various life-threating illnesses and conditions.

Now faced with my own battles with liver cancer, liver transplant, and a maniac bout of hepatitis C, it is axiomatic for me to research my own issues. I know the docs can smell me and my questions coming. Depending on their schedules and temperaments, they either sharpen their pencils and prep their answers, or quicken their pace and exit the area.

So I’m sitting in “Club Moffitt” (aka UCSF’s Moffitt Hospital) for more than a few days (post-surgery fluid leakage, don’t ask) and as the staff doles out my various meds, one seems to be at a different dose than I’ve been taking at home. I’m not quite sure though (my protein/fluid problem doesn’t make for clear thinking) so I ask a friend to stop by my place, get the Rx bottle and bring it by. He kindly does so.

Sure enough, the dose they’ve been giving me is incorrect. I’d told the nurse earlier of my concern, and she asked me to bring her the bottle when it arrived. I do. She examines it.

“You’re right,” she says, handing me the bottle. “I’ll make the changes. Thank you, Dr. Brownson.”

After 20 seconds or so, it is clear she’s not being ironic. I laugh out loud, as does another nurse near by.

“Uh, I don’t have the degree quite yet,” I say. The nurse, flustered, goes on her way.

Maybe they’re planning an honorary degree as prophylaxis against bugging the docs with so many questions? Who knows. I can say that was the best chuckle I’ve had in three weeks.

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