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Wounded on Multiple Levels

Posted May 31 2009 10:17pm
"So your chest hurts you because someone hit you with a cane?" I repeated back to the twenty year old patient sitting in front of me.

"Yeah, it was about a week ago, but it still kind of hurts, so I thought I'd come in and maybe you could give me some pain medicine for it or something. Ibuprofen and Tylenol just aren't touching it," he said not knowing the words "just not touching it" are at least a yellow flag if not a red one for drug seeking behavior.

Playing dumb I asked with a curious look, "That sure seems kind of random. Why did an old man hit you with his cane in your chest?"

"I don't know. Me and my friend were just minding our own business."

"Wow, you could have been really hurt. Did you call the police or anything or did it make you mad. Did you hit him back?" trying to lead him to the answer I already knew, but couldn't let on how I knew it.

A week earlier an "old" man in his early sixties came into the office to see me after being assaulted by two teenagers. He said they were blocking the sidewalk and when he asked them to move they grabbed his cane and beat him with it. I had known the man for several years and the rib fractures and enormous bruises were not the greatest injury he sustained that afternoon. A Marine veteran having served in Vietnam his pride had been crushed in a matter of just a few seconds.

"Well, I grabbed the cane and hit him back," the kid sitting in front of me admitted. "It was all self defense."

"I see. So did the police come? Did anyone get arrested?"

"Yeah, I spent the night in jail and I have to go to court next week."

I examined his chest which had none of the swelling, bruising, tenderness which I had seen from the fractured ribs on the "old man". "Yeah, you don't need any pain medications. You'll be fine. Have fun in court next week," I chuckled leaving the room before I broke my other patient's confidentiality. He had enough of taken from him already.

The Country Doctor
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