Article Date: 7/1/2008

She Has a Gun … And It's Loaded
lessons learned

She Has a Gun … And It's Loaded

From guns to faucets, you never know what you'll find in the office.

JACK RUNNINGER, O.D.

"My elderly aunt was Christmas shopping at the mall," a lady told me a few months ago. "She returned to the car to find two men climbing into its front seat. She is a feisty old gal, so she pulled a pistol out of her purse, pointed it at the two men and said, ‘I'll give you to a count of 10 to get out of that car before I start shooting.’

"The two men departed in great haste, and she climbed into the car. When she tried to insert the key in the ignition, she discovered she was in the wrong car. So she got out to search the crowded parking lot for her car … without success.

"So she asked a security guard for help.

"‘Not right now,’ he said. ‘We're busy searching for some old lady who has a gun and is threatening to shoot up the parking lot."


ILLUSTRATION BY AMY WUMMER

Same lady?

Perhaps this lady and a patient of Elberton, Ga.'s Dr. Don Dye are one and the same? "I was performing a slit lamp exam on an 80-year-old lady," he reports. "I asked her if I could put her pocketbook on the table so that it wouldn't be in the way. She agreed and stated, ‘Be careful. It has my gun in it.’ And quickly added, ‘And it's loaded!’"

It seems Dr. Dye may have an exclusive with odd occurrences with patients' purses. When he picked up another lady's purse to move it out of the way, he found that it was extremely heavy.

"Do you have the kitchen sink in here," he kidded her. "No, but I do have the faucet," she replied. And sure enough, she did.

Office oddities

Other examples of odd things that happen in optometric offices:

► "I was interviewing a patient, and asked about any history of ocular surgery," e-mails Dr. Hilla Able, Queens, N.Y. "He said yes, he'd had surgery on a crossed eye. When I asked which eye, he answered, ‘Either the right or the left, I forget which.’"

► "I overheard a conversation, in which a lady was explaining monovision to a friend" says Dr. Bob Stetekluh, Arlington, Va. "She said, ‘It's when you look with one eye, and see with the other eye.’"

Medical terms

In addition to these odd episodes, some of you have sent me additional examples of patients who misunderstand medical terms:

► "While a fourth year student at the University of Houston College of Optometry, I was examining a young child and directing my questions to the mother," pens Dr. Gerard Lozada, Kansas City, Kan. "When I asked about any history of illness, she replied, ‘He was very ill a few years ago. He had Spirit Mighty Jesus.’

"I asked ‘Do you by any chance mean spinal meningitis?’

"‘Yes, that's what it was!’ she exclaimed."

► "While reading your January column, I saw that one patient didn't want his eyes ‘deleted’. I have had a number of patients ask about having their eyes ‘diluted’,'" read a note from Dr. Kevin Wulff, Rochester, Minn.

Other occupations also have strange experiences. Nancy Gatlin, the revered librarian for 39 years at Southern College of Optometry until her recent retirement, tells me of the odd question one of her librarian friends once received.

"How many calories are in a mouse?" an elderly lady asked her. "The reason I need to know is that I have my cat on a strict diet, and I just found out she is eating mice as well."

More later. OM


JACK RUNNINGER, OUR CONSULTING EDITOR, LIVES IN ROME, GA. HE'S ALSO A PAST EDITOR OF OM. CONTACT HIM AT RUNNINGERJ@COMCAST.NET.

Optometric Management, Issue: July 2008