You wanted to see me, sir?
Yes, Dr. Metzger. I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. I’ve been receiving complaints from your patients. And I’ve decided I can’t allow you to make April Fools jokes this year.
Oh my God.
I know you’re disappointed, but my mind is made up.
What about the one where I tell the patient I’m out of anesthetic?
What about the one where I put on a janitor’s outfit, grab a scalpel and walk into the operating room just as my patient loses consciousness? So he thinks he’s going to be operated on by a janitor?
What about the one where the patient wakes up after his operation and I start shouting, ‘Where’s my stethoscope? Where did I leave my stethoscope?’ And then I stare at the patient’s torso, with a look of horror, like I maybe left it inside of his body?
You can’t do this to me! April Fools’ Day is the highlight of my year. It’s the only reason I finished medical school – to experience the holiday as a doctor.
I’m sorry, Sam, but my hands are tied.
What about the one where the patient wakes up and I’m wearing a robot costume, so he thinks he’s been in a coma for eighty years. And I’m, like, “Welcome to the future, Mr. Greenbaum. The world you remember is gone.” In a robot voice.
How could you be so cruel? I mean, for God’s sake, what happened to the Hippocratic Oath?
“First do no harm?”
That’s what that meant?
It wasn’t something about April Fools?
What about the one where I tell the patient his kidney operation was a grand success, but then, while I’m talking to him, I have an intern come in and say, “Dr. Metzger, you’ve got some dirt on your shoulder.” And I start to brush my right shoulder. And the intern’s like, “No, your left shoulder.” And I’m like, “This is my left shoulder.” And he’s like, “No, it’s your right shoulder. What’s the matter with you, Dr. Metzger? Don’t you know your left from your right?” And then we both look at the patient’s torso, with a look of horror, to imply, like…
I know where you’re going with this.
…to imply, like, maybe I operated on the wrong kidney? Like, maybe I did the left one, instead of the right one. Because I don’t know the difference between right and left.
At least let me workshop it.
I’m sorry, Sam, but my decision is final.
I can’t believe you bought that.
Man, you got me good. Guess that’s why you’re head of surgery.
Pass me a robot mask. It’s time to make the rounds.
Illustration by Natalie Capannelli
This article was originally published August 2013