SOMEWHERE OVER THE PACIFIC OCEAN – Dr. Brock Hammersley felt nauseated and sweaty and experienced the feeling of an elephant sitting on his chest with a sense of impending doom while flying to Hawaii this past weekend. Fortunately, before his premonition could come to fruition, an internist sitting in coach responded to the flight attendant’s call for a doctor on the plane.
About an hour into the 5-hour flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu, an obese elderly woman with no medical history aside from “occasional insulin” started having a headache prompting her to call for a flight attendant. When the flight attendant made the cabin overhead announcement asking if there was a doctor on board, Hammersley’s sympathetic nervous system took over. “It was the scariest thing ever! I’m an orthopaedic surgeon; a doctor of bones, tendons, ligaments, and bones! Not a doctor of heads or aches. Thankfully that nerdy guy from the commoner section of the plane showed up!”
Dr. Royce Boveras and his emotional support Great Dane, General Scribbles, were escorted to the Pickwickian woman and checked her blood sugar with a glucometer from the plane’s first-aid kit. “Her blood glucose level was 367 mg/dl, apparently these are the same headaches she gets whenever her blood glucose levels get above 300.”
Boveras gave the corpulent passenger some insulin and promptly got her blood sugar to the low 100s before he and his dog returned to their cramped seat in the back of the plane.
When asked about his role in saving Hammersley’s life, Boveras was very modest. “It was the right thing to do. I’ve seen orthopods nearly stroke out trying to write an H&P, the good Lord only knows what would have happened had Hammersley tried to treat or even spell diabetes.”
For his part, Hammersley was appreciative.
“That Dr. Boveras was amazing. The way he took a history and listened to chest organs with that device thingy and checked the lady’s blood on that mini-space computer was amazing! I remember when I was a real doctor once, back before my ortho residency. It was back when I used to fly coach before Stryker reps started paying for my tickets to conferences. I miss those days.”
Hammersley then returned from his trip down memory lane and turned his focus back to sipping cognac and coloring a picture of a unicorn with huge biceps.