So I'm in the ER and finish up with the patient and, as I always try to do, I ask: "Any questions?" Because it's important to conclude any physician-patient encounter that way. If the patient has questions and they don't get answered, then if something goes wrong or if the patient just doesn't understand the instructions he was given, he'll be back and he'll harbour some animus towards the doctor who was too busy to answer his queries.
So I wait and the patient answers: "No." Pause. "But doctor, I want to ask you..."
Now I get this all the time. No, you have no questions and here's one now. And maybe I was feeling fiestier than usual that day but I raised my hand and said "Hang on, I asked if you had any questions and you said 'no'. So that was it."
And the patient's shoulders sagged and he muttered "Darn" as if I'd just yanked the winning lottery ticket away after he'd accidentally refused to take it.
Fortuinately I was not only fiesty but in a good mood as well so I said "Oh okay, I'll make an exception this time. What's the question?"
You should have seen the smile on his face...