Tales From the Department of Backhanded Compliments

Preceptor:  I don’t know what to make of your lab values  … none of this is within my specialty, I’m sorry.  *turns to me*  Action Potential, what should we order?

Me:  Erm.  The leukopenia may still be an issue, so we should get another CBC with diff, right?  Then for the symptoms, how about an insulin level, a B12 level, a peripheral blood smear, and a creatinine kinase?

Preceptor:  AWESOME.  Sounds good.  *enters tests into computer*  Wait.. hmm. How about a metabolic panel?

Me:  Well, I’m tempted, but since the hyperkalemia resolved once, I don’t think a second high result would change our management.  So.. no?

Patient: You’re really smart for a student!

Preceptor:  She is!  You know, Action Potential – I used to have a really cute dog – a terrier mix that I brought into work every day.  And my patients loved it!  They started requesting that their next appointment be on a day when I’d have my dog!

Patient:  Haha.

Preceptor:  Eventually, I realized I could probably just drop the dog off at the office and go home without any change in patient care.  The dog was probably doing all the work anyway.  You’re just like that dog, AP!

Me: … thank you.

5 hours later

“Hey, AP, how’s it going?”

“My preceptor compared me to a dog.  Repeatedly.  And I’m pretty sure it was the nicest compliment ever.”

“… oookay, we need to get you a beer.”

6 thoughts on “Tales From the Department of Backhanded Compliments

  1. AP, sit! Fetch! Beg! Good AP.

    Our peds clerkship director told us that the ideal medical student was like a golden retriever. At least terriers are tenacious and wickedly smart by comparison.

  2. Since most people really lurve their dogs, this means the preceptor really likes you and just the thought of you is akin to watching puppy porn.

    I vote for good compliment, no backhand involved.

  3. You got a compliment…take it…they’re scarce!
    …but what I really want to know is what were the symptoms that prompted the suggested work up!

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