The Chairman, Kenneth George Bolton, MD, was in an especially grumpy mood this morning. With bowtie just so, the round balding man in his seersucker suit quickly made his way down the hallway and into the Urology Department office. Yes, gruff was his nature, and even more so today, for something in his mind was horribly wrong.
The three secretaries busied themselves with paperwork and typing as the man silently passed the group. Something in his walk alerted them before he could claim any as the cause of the problem. Each woman dropped their eyes to piles of work before them, as they wondered who might be first to feel the wrath that formerly fine day.
“Hold my calls, Bonnie honey,” he said in his finest southern drawl, as the man opened his office door and closed himself within, not waiting for her answer.
“Yes Dr. Bolton,” the woman said slowly under her breath, looking up from her work with just the hint of dread in her eyes. Bonnie was the Chairman’s personal secretary, her desk just next to his door. Something told her today would be a day where sick leave might have been a better alternative, considering it all.
In his office Kenneth George Bolton plopped down in his swivel chair with a sigh. Quietly he said to himself, “I am so flustrated,” tossing his old style leather briefcase on the floor at his feet. He took a deep breath saying his favorite saying again as any good North Carolinian would do. “I am so flustrated…” He leaned back eyeing the ceiling, drumming his stubby fingers on his fine cherrywood desk as he thought. He grimaced just a bit, shook his head, and turned to eye his diploma on the wall. Something was very wrong that day, he was sure of it, and he decided then to find out just who was at fault. Wondering about the culprit, the man pushed his rimless glasses up the bridge of his straight nose. Quickly he decided in his balding head. The man grabbed the phone to his left pushing the intercom button with determination. BEEP…
“Yes Dr. Bolton,” the woman said.
“Bonnie honey, this is Dr. Bolton. Bonnie… I told ya specifictually to have that draft of my prostate cancer paper here this very fine morning for my ever so important review. Bonnie honey, I am so flustrated! Honey, can’t ya-all do anything for me?”
The woman cleared her throat with a dry, quiet, cough. In a soft tone, with all the confidence she could muster, she spoke. “Yes, Dr. Bolton I was going to tell you. That paper, the prostate cancer paper; it is typed and sitting in your inbox for your review.”
A little redder now, the stout man turned and looked to his right. Just as she said, the paper sat in his inbox and stared defiantly back at him. He grabbed for the document and examined it quickly. It was triple spaced and secured with a single shiny paper clip, as was his desired practice. Kenneth George Bolton shook his head, thumbing through the flawlessly transcribed manuscript, as the woman held on the phone. To his chagrin, each page was perfect, references throughout, the grammar corrected just right in red ink.
“Bonnie honey I see… why Bonnie honey, I apologize. I stand corrected,” the man said as he slid the receiver back onto the phone. Leaning back in his chair and looking to the ceiling again he said with a flourish, “I am so f.l.u.s.t.r.a.t.ed…”
The man stood and firmly pushed his leather chair back away from his desk. He paced impatiently back and forth along his fine Persian rug. Tugging the pull rope he opened the curtains to his office. He glanced to the floor and smiled. His old style leather briefcase, with slightly sinister initials K.G.B. inscribed in brass, shined back at him just so. A tight-lipped smile of determination crossed his face and he quickly turned back to his phone. Pushing the intercom button the man waited with growing impatience. BEEP
“Yes Dr. Bolton,” Bonnie said.
“Bonnie honey this is Dr. Bolton. Bonnie honey…could ya-all get my chief resident WillLouis on the phone for me? Oh…and Bonnie honey,” the man said as he flipped again through the neatly typed paper. “Such a nice paper ya-all have here for me. It’s just…a super paper.”
Kenneth George Bolton put down the receiver to wait. He picked up his golden letter opener and tapped an absent-minded drum roll with the blade. The Chairman was not a man to wait, this day of all days.
“Dr. Bolton, I have Dr. Louis on the line.”
The chairman grabbed the receiver and pulled it to his ear. “WillLouis?”
“Yes …ah…Dr. Bolton? This is Bill. Bonnie said you wanted to speak with me?” The voice said with just a hint of dread.
“WillLouis…this is Dr. Bolton. WillLouis…I am so disappointed with ya-all. Yes, I am so flustrated. I really am flustrated with you. WillLouis I saw Mrs. Haverstein this morning up on the Urology ward. She has one of those, I don’t know what ya-all call it, one of those Bonanno suprapubic tubes in her. WillLouis I specifictually told ya-all yesterday to place my own Bolton suprapubic tube postoperatively in that woman. What do you have to say for yourself WillLouis?”
The voice on the phone said quietly. “Ah…Dr Bolton sir…Mrs. Haverton…ah Haverton, I believe her name is Haverton. You see, Dr. Bolton, the patient is allergic to the polyurethane in your suprapubic tube. I researched it and found that Bonanno suprapubic tubes are made with polypropylene. I choose that tube hoping that she would not be allergic to the tube. She seems fine this morning, sir.”
Kenneth George Bolton just stared at the phone with silent disgust. A frown crossed his face. “I am so flustrated,” he whispered under his breath.
“Dr. Bolton…ah Dr. Bolton…do you want me to change out that tube and put in the polyurethane Bolton suprapubic tube, sir?” The chief resident questioned.
“WillLouis…I see…allergic you say? Yes…ya-all did the right thing. I apologize…I stand corrected.” Click, the man crashed the receiver back onto the phone. “I am so f..l..u..s..t..r..a..t..ed,” KGB said gritting his teeth and shaking his bald head back and forth. He plopped back into his chair and began stamping his feet. A smile suddenly came to his lips. Turning to his phone he pushed the intercom button again. BEEP
“Yes Dr. Bolton,” returned Bonnie’s hesitant voice.
“Bonnie honey this is Dr. Bolton. Bonnie honey….oh ya, such a very super paper, just a super paper. Bonnie honey…could you get my wife Kathy on the phone for me?”
“Yes Dr. Bolton,” was the reply.
The man picked up his Johns Hopkins coffee mug wondering what they would do at that hallowed institution and sipped loudly. A chairman at a prestigious university Urology Department and still the frustration continues. Respect, respect was the problem he concluded.
BEEP…“Dr. Bolton I have your wife Kathy on the phone.”
The man turned quickly and pulled the receiver to his ear. “Kathy honey…this is Dr. Bolton. Kathy honey…I specifitually told ya-all, if I wasn’t mistaking, not to serve any more of those dratted peas and carrots. Now what was that we et just last night!”
“Kenneth…last night we ate home made beef stew, you’re favorite. You always have peas and carrots in your stew. You loved it, dear!”
The man looked at the receiver for the longest time. He was bright red now with just the hint of sweat on his brow. A scowl crossed his face as he realized his mistake. “Stew…why Kathy honey…that was just the most delicious stew I have ever et. Yes, just a super stew. Why I apologize…I stand corrected.”
The man looked up at the ceiling with a sense of overwhelming frustration. The day was a disaster, for he was beginning to believe there was really nothing wrong at all! He held the phone receiver to his chest covering the receiver. Kenneth George Bolton took a deep breath and pounded his fist silently on the desk. In his mind he said a long and complete phrase. “I am so F…l...u...s...t...r...a...t...ed.” He looked down at his briefcase, and polished the brass nameplate with a stubby finger. An expectant smile crossed his face as he realized the culprit. Why had he not seen this before? He knew now who was the cause of his flustration. The man returned to the phone receiver and his wife.
With his sweetest voice he said: “Kathy honey…let me talk to my dog Winston!”