Sort of an amusing tale from the office last week. I removed an appendix a couple weeks ago from a young "au pair" here in the States from (let's say Paraguay) on a work visa. Very straight forward case. Laparoscopic appendectomy. Went home the next day. She works for a family in one of the foo-foo sections of the east Cleveland suburbs. I usually see post-op patients 10-20 days after discharge just to make sure everything has healed well and there aren't any further problems. I had to cancel this young woman's initial post op appointment because of an emergency that arose. Within minutes the "lady of the house" (LOTH) calls the office and is just outraged. How dare we cancel the appointment of her au pair. Didn't we realize that she was vital to the smooth functioning of the household? My office staff, as always, was quite apologetic and made arrangements for me to see her between cases the following day.
They arrived twenty minutes early the next day and I raced upstairs to see her between gallbladders. The patient looked fantastic; smiling, pain-free, completely back to normal. Her incisions had healed perfectly and I told her to remove her steri strips the next time she was in the shower. Standing in the corner, hovering almost, was the LOTH. She didn't acknowledge me when I said hello to her except with one of those dismissive upward turned arched eyebrows you give to someone you pass in the hallways. She stood next to the high end stroller shushing the cute baby during the exam. She looked to be about 30-35 years old. Not an ounce of fat on her. Prada bag dangling off her shoulder. Dolce Gabbana sunglasses perched atop her head. Dressed like a female correspondent on Fox News.
I gave the patient my usual spiel. No specific restrictions other than avoiding activities that caused pain. You're not going to hurt anything, but you may find certain activities make you uncomfortable (muscle soreness, scar tissue, etc). The young au pair smiled and thanked me. And it was "au pair". Not nanny. Not babysitter. Au pair. In Cleveland, Ohio.
That's not going to be good enough, the LOTH hissed at me. Excuse me, I asked? I need to have explicit instructions. If she can lift the baby, then you need to write that down. I have been trapped in my own house for two weeks doing all the things that we're paying her to do! I've missed yoga. I don't see my friends. I haven't been sleeping at night. And I have no recourse until we get clearance from the doctor. So if she doesn't have any restrictions, you need to make that clear in writing.
Her cold steely gaze was one of pure contempt. I was incredulous. The poor Paraguayan girl was blushing silently on her chair. The baby started whimpering.
What I just said is what I'm going to write, I told her, slowly, standing from my stool. She may have pain when she does certain activities. If that happens she should stop what she's doing. Most of the time, people don't have any problems after appendix surgery. But I have to prepare her for the possibilities. It would be prudent for you to give her a little leeway and empathy in this matter.
Fine, she hissed. Are we done?
Yes, we were done. Amazing. Hopefully the poor girl is only there on a one year contract. And hopefully the LOTH has no plans to add to her brood. I should have written "no lifting anything heavier than toilet paper for 6 months".