After visiting the Boston Medical Center eleven years ago for a second opinion, I was sent a copy of the resulting doctors’ reports. I was quite flattered when I read these letters. They all began with statements like:
” We had the pleasure of seeing Samantha Albert….”
“It was a pleasure to meet Mrs. Albert and her sister….”
“Many thanks for referring Mrs. Samantha Albert a delightful 33 year old lady from Toronto.”
I began to get a bit of a swelled head until one of my doctor sisters pointed out that this is standard practice. Was she saying that I was not delightful?
I mulled over this idea for a while and then began to wonder how hard this kind of phrasing would be with really difficult patients. (Since I’m delightful, I’m sure it is not an issue for any of my doctors)
Imagine having to say, “It was a pleasure to meet with Mr. Brown today.” When what you would really like to say is “Mr. Brown’s problems are all in his head” or “Mrs. Oberlin whined the entire appointment. Our meeting with her was longer than I could bear” or “Why did you plague me with Mr. Logan? He was argumentative the entire visit and then stole my best pen!”
Or imagine trying to find seventeen different ways of saying “It was a pleasure to meet…” just so you wouldn’t get bored.
“It was terrific to meet…”
“I’m so glad I had the chance to meet…”
“It was a joy to meet…”
“It was a rare treat to meet…”
“It was a day of bliss when Mr. Luciano walked into my office”
I had never thought about the creativity involved in writing these reports before. Those skilled doctors…