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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I love intelligent patients

I love intelligent patients. As I was performing an EKG, he asked, "Does that EKG measure voltage or resistance?"

"You got me," I said, "I know it measures voltage, but I'd guess both."

"It's kind of a complicated machine," he said, "but all such machines are pretty much the same."

"What did you do for a living," I asked, assuming he was retired.

"I was an engineer. I made products for NASA."

"Cool," I said, for lack of a better word. "Impressive."

"Yeah, it was a good career."

"I bet."

"Didn't mean to stump you, I was just curious."

"No. I love to be challenged. About 20 years ago we RTs knew all our equipment inside and out. But now with all the microprocessors inside them, we leave the "inside" part to the engineers like yourself."

"Yeah, it does get pretty challenging."

I said, "My grandpa was a mechanic, and I remember him telling me once that all engines were pretty much the same. By the time he retired, he told me once, all the machines were so different you had to grab a different manual for each car."

He rattled off the parts of an old car that were always the same. "Computers certainly complicate things. But the workings really are pretty much the same as they were 36 years ago."

I wouldn't know, but I'll take his word for it. I love intelligent patients. I love an intelligent discussion.

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