Now that everyone in my family has been vaccinated, we’re starting to do more.
Last week we met my mom and some of her (vaccinated) friends for dinner at a local restaurant. Except for picking up takeout, I hadn’t been to one since early March 2020.
During the usual chatting about jobs, music, my kids, and trips we were thinking about, one of her friends suddenly said: “That’s funny.”
I asked him what was funny, and he said: “My left vision suddenly went dark.”
It only takes a fraction of a second to shift into doctor mode. I asked a few pointed questions and did a quick neuroscan for asymmetries, slurred speech, the things that, after 23 years, have become second nature.
It resolved after about 30 seconds. He clearly didn’t think it was anything to be alarmed about. He’s intelligent and well educated, but not a doctor. I wasn’t going to let it go, and quietly spoke to him a short while later. He may not be my patient, but pushing him in the needed direction is the right thing to do.
I’ve gotten him to the right doctors now, and the ball is rolling, but I keep thinking about it. If I hadn’t been there it’s likely nothing would have been done. In fact, he seemed to think it was more amusing than potentially serious.
Medical blogs and doctors’ lounge stories are full of similar anecdotes, where we wonder why people don’t take such things seriously. We tend to view such people as stupid and/or ignorant.
Yet, this gentleman is neither. I’ve known him since childhood. He’s smart, well educated, and well read. He’s not a medical person, though.
In reality, I don’t think doctors or nurses are any better.I suspect that’s more human nature, which is hard to override regardless of training.
But maybe it’s time to start giving these people, like my family friend, a pass, with the realization that denial and different training are part of being human, and not something to be poked fun at.
Dr. Block has a solo neurology practice in Scottsdale, Ariz.