The devil doesn’t wear Prada on my unit….he wears old worn out brown Danskos. Danskos that I wish he would replace, STAT. He’s our bigwig surgeon. Dr. X. He’s arrogant, he’s charming with the lady patients, he’s published like a gazillion papers in peer reviewed journals, he has impeccable outcome statistics and he has expectations of perfection that only Mother Theresa could meet. But his Danskos? He’s had to have had those things since residency, which must have been ages ago. They probably smell horrid, like a combination of dog anal glands and epoisses on a hot day. A lot of surgeons have their “thing”. A little superstition. A certain surgical cap, a Mont Blanc fountain pen they’ve used for every paper order and progress note since the 70’s, their alma mater pin etc.
This guy? His ratty brown Danskos. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have a love/hate relationship with my Danskos. I fought the good fight to avoid buying a pair until my aching feet protested after a year of 12 hour shifts. I caved. I bought. I hate. They’re so ugly! But they’re SO comfortable. And the 1 3/4″ heel comes in mighty handy when you have to walk to work in the rain.
When Dr. X breezes onto the floor for rounds, you can see him coming down the hall with his entourage of 4-5 residents, a few interns and perhaps a terrified medical student trailing 4 feet behind. They flank him like a flock of geese migrating south in V formation. And every time I find myself humming “My Posse’s on Broadway” when they walk by. Usually we’ve had about 23 seconds of lead time before he arrives to round on his patients because his Danskos have a certain recognizable squeak.
You know the scene from The Devil Wears Prada where Meryl Streep’s character is making her way into the building for work? Scenes of her getting out of her town car, entering the building, getting in the elevators and opening the big glass doors to the fashion magazine headquarters are interspersed with scenes of frantic fashion magazine employees racing around making sure everything is perfect in the office before she arrives. Cleaning up clutter, touching up their makeup, changing out of comfortable shoes into high stilettos, hiding carbs, taking off functional clothes and putting on haute couture, setting her coffee in its exact proper location on her desk.
That’s what its like when Dr. X comes on the floor. We race around making sure all his patients are awake, out of bed (“get up now! get in the chair!”), medicated, working on their pulmonary hygiene (“If anyone asks you’ve been doing this incentive spirometry all morning!”)* or…jackpot…just happen to be walking in the hall when he arrives (which he loves). If they’re asleep and shaking them awake wouldn’t be appropriate, we just shove the incentive spirometer into their limp hands. **
And he buys it every time.
* We normally do all these important post operative nursing interventions anyway. Many times a day. We’re good nurses. He just rounds so early in the morning before we’ve had a chance to get everyone going.
** I’ve totally done that before