Foot in Mouth Disease
As a longtime sufferer, I've learned to hide my affliction for the most part. But around 4 am the brain fog sometimes rolls in, my defenses are weakened, and my cover is blown.
I learned years ago to never ask a woman if she is pregnant, or even worse, when is her due date. You only make that mistake once. Or if you're like me, twice.
But yet I've had a few awkward moments with age-mismatched couples. There is nowhere to hide when you assume that an older woman is a man's mother instead of his wife. Or that the little hottie with her slightly older male companion is his girlfriend instead of his daughter. And then I learn that she's only 15. Yikes, now I'm Akon. I guess I should have read the chart before I came in. I blame the milk hormones!
If a guy comes to the ER accompanied by another guy, it's usually safe to assume that they are partners...unless they are brothers. Guys just don't come to the ER with other guys. Unless they are both drunk, that is. With two women together, all bets are off. It's funny when they volunteer the fact that they are sisters before I have even sat down. I always appreciate the clarification, but it makes me wonder if it's because they can spot my disease so easily. I'm self-conscious like that.
A couple of weeks ago, my condition flared up again. I had asked the secretary to page Dr. O'Donnell, a lady doctor whom I had never spoken with before. When I took the call, the person I was speaking with sounded like James Earl Jones. Of course it was 4 am, so neither her voice nor my brain were functioning properly.
"Yes, this is Dr. O'Donnell."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I was trying to reach the female Dr. O'Donnell."
"This is she."
Then I did it again. A woman accompanying her son suggested a specific antibiotic combination that was perfectly appropriate and coincidentally exactly the combination that I had in mind.
"Are you a nurse?" I asked.
Fortunately she was, but that ill-advised assumption could have been embarrassing. I'm really not an idiot, I just have a disability that makes me look like one sometimes.