Dr. Stock is an excellent surgeon. If you are so unfortunate as to require the services of a surgeon, you want Dr. Stock. He’s highly skilled, very competent, and really smart. He’s a no-nonsense man: he tells you how it is in a brisk, business-like, and professional manner. By patients he is well-respected and well-liked. By nurses he is well-respected … and somewhat feared. He wants things done right. And if they’re not done right, he lets you know about it. He’s been known to throw charts, raise his voice, huff off the floor.
You do not want Dr. Stock to be angry with you.
One day as I was charting nearby, his wife sneaked up behind him and kissed the top of his balding head. Unaware of who had committed such an outrageously inappropriate, utterly unacceptable, and highly presumptuous act, Dr. Stock’s face suffused with a thunderous rage. His eyes bulged as he drew in a sharp breath.
I watched, scarcely breathing, utterly transfixed. What would happen next? Would his head explode? Would fire erupt from his nostrils? Would his roar blow out the windows? He stood, turned menacingly towards his hapless victim – and saw that it was his wife. His fury melted; he grinned at her, and gave her a sweet kiss.
I was a little disappointed.
I really wanted to see the full-blown reaction. For months afterwards, I teased him that I might have to kiss the top of his head, and brave whatever disastrous consequences might befall me, just to satisfy my curiosity. That thunderous face! Those bulging eyes! They were breathtaking, albeit terrifying.
He always replied in his gravest I’m-warning-you tone: “Don’t do it, Carol. Don’t do it.”
A few months later, an anxious and difficult family member of an anxious and difficult patient insisted that they see a surgeon. They were sure she needed surgery, despite the results of multiple tests and the assurances of several doctors. As charge nurse that day, I tried to accommodate them, calling numerous surgeons while the family member hovered angrily and impatiently around me, but no surgeon was willing to take their case.
Finally, I called Dr. Stock. He said flatly, “No.”
He repeated firmly, “No, Carol. I’m busy.”
I persisted: “I know you are. But will you come anyway?”
There was a long silence, then an angry huff. Ah-ha! I had him!
After he reviewed her chart, saw the patient, and reassured the family that she didn’t need surgery (while likely feeling the entire thing had been an unnecessary waste of time), I gratefully said, “Dr. Stock, you’re my hero. You’re my superhero!”
He grunted, nonplussed. He was writing his notes. He was busy.
I kept gushing. It’s just how I am. “I should write a poem for you!”
At that he looked up and gave me the fish-eye. “Yeah,” he said dryly. “You can call it Ode to B.S.”
The light bulb went on.
And so, Dr. Stock, here is your poem.
Ode to B.S. — I mean, Dr. Stock
He knows when you’re hurting. He knows when you’re not.
You cannot deceive him – he’s Super Doc Stock!
With his Superman powers, there’s no need for CAT scans –
X-ray vision can check all your organs and glands.
And like all super heroes, he’s saved countless lives.
When someone’s in trouble, to the OR he flies!
Leaping gurneys and food carts, he speeds through the air,
No problems with drag ‘cause he doesn’t have h–
. . . . . . er, a cape.
He can work with eyes closed (and he frequently does);
He gains super-powers when he dons sterile gloves!
With fingers ablur, scalpels whizzing about,
He’s faster than Flash as he cuts bad stuff out.
He’s Spider-Man nimble, he’s Superman strong,
Has the mood of The Hulk, but that never lasts long.
All kidding aside, we really do love you.
You’re an excellent doc, and we think highly of you.
If your likely reaction didn’t fill us with dread,
We all would be kissing the top of your head.
So the question remains – it’s all over the news,
It’s debated in offices, restaurants and pews,
It’s pondered by scholars; it’s a box-office hit:
Is he Super Doc Stock? Or am I full of —
. . . . . . er, B.S.?