Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge Day 29 #HAWMC: Dr. Hobson’s Choice

  • 29 April 2012

It’s Day 29 of the WEGO Health Activist Writer’s Month, in which participants are directed to write each day about a health issue. One more day left after today!

Today’s Prompt: Six Sentence Story.

In this day of micro-blogging – brevity is a skill worth honing. Can you tell a story and make it short and sweet? What can you say in six sentences? Will you give your post a title, beginning, middle, and end – or do something different entirely? You’ve got 6 sentences: be creative, inventive, and direct; this may include being generous with punctuation. Good luck!


Dr. Hobson’s Choice

The doctor paces his office, wondering how he will break the news to Mrs. Shaw that her tumor is cancerous. Throughout his career he’s noticed that each patient has reacted differently to receipt of this diagnosis: some stoic, some weeping, some staring straight ahead into oblivion. He is determined not to tell her how lucky she is to live in this age and not fifty years ago, knowing that such a statement doesn’t ring true with patients.  The walls of his office start closing in on him, Pinesol scent irritating his nostrils, the sterile environment mocking him with its x-ray equipment devoid of emotion. But the relentless tick-tock of the clock reminds him he must make haste–that other patients fidget in the waiting room, reading the same article over and over again or toying with their Blackberries. Walking down the hall, Dr. Hobson braces himself for the encounter, but first he stops at the restroom.


Have you ever wondered what doctors are thinking before they have to deliver devastating medical news to a patient? I’d like to have a doctor like Dr. Hobson, who’s learned from the school of hard knocks (Bedside Manner 101), that patients who’ve just been diagnosed don’t like to hear they are lucky. They are convinced that those without cancer are the lucky ones. They’ll envy them their carefree life devoid of constant vigilance for signs and symptoms of recurrence.


  • Marie Ennis-O’Connor (@JBBC)

    Wasn’t this a fun exercise Jan :-) However, I liked this 6 line story so much..I wanted to read more!

  • jhasak

    Indeed, it was fun! I did leave to my readers’ imagination what came next. But alas, only so much can be said in six sentences. I love your story. xxx

  • Renn

    Great job, Jan. I was thinking, It’s just like a doctor to stop in the restroom and keep her waiting even longer! LOL!

  • jhasak

    Thanks, Renn! LOL, yes, one interpretation is that the doctor attempted a delay tactic with that side-trip. You gave me a good laugh. Thanks for visiting! xxx

  • Liz

    This vivid story brings back memories of sitting outside my brand new breast surgeon’s rooms before my first appointment. The biopsy had come back and I knew things were bad, but I didn’t know HOW bad or what treatment would be recommended. I remember sitting there thinking that the upcoming conversation was destined to be one of the most crucial of my life, and wondering how it must feel to be someone whose working days are peppered with such discussions. Fortunately I scored myself a Dr Hobson, whom I liked straight away. The importance of this to my psychological well-being can’t be underestimated, I think. I hope there have been more terrific doctors on your journey than ones who’d fail Bedside Manner 101!

  • jhasak

    Interesting how we sometimes have an out-of-body experience that allows us to see another person’s perspective, even when our lives are in the balance. I’m so thankful you had a Dr. Hobson who comforted you, who exhibited sensitivity tailored for a patient just diagnosed. I’ve had more than my share of doctors for a lifetime, and would have to say that I’ve probably had more who were compassionate than who failed Bedside Manner 101. There are always the arrogant ones, but I’m confident enough now to change doctors if I don’t feel respected and heard. Thanks much for sharing that story, Liz. It brightened my day. xxx