This is originally from a physician in Utah.
I work part-time as a teacher of family doctors. The program
provides training on psychiatric disorders and emphasizes the
importance of emotional support. The new doctors are given plenty of
time in clinic to visit with their patients and learn about their
One of our interns who has never lived in Utah and knows nothing about
Mormons is still struggling to understand the cultural climate here.
Last week he was interviewing a new patient and stumbled on what he
thought was a raging psychosis.
Doctor: "Well, Mrs. Olsen, we've talked about your high blood pressure
and your medications. Are you experiencing any particular stress in
Patient: "Oh, yes! It's the Sunbeams. They're driving me crazy."
Doctor (very surprised): "The sun beams?"
Patient: "Yes. I've never had trouble with them before, but this group
won't sit still. They bounce all over the room, and run out the door
and down the hall."
Doctor (reaching for a pen): "Have you told anyone about this?"
Patient: "Of course. I told the president."
Doctor: "Really! What did the president tell you?"
Patient: "She said Sunbeams are like that. I'm just going to have
to learn to deal with them."
Doctor (concerned that he may be missing something): "I know people
who are sensitive to sun beams. Do they cause you a rash or
Patient (confused): "A rash? No."
Doctor: "What's the biggest problem they're creating?"
Patient: "It's the noise. They just won't quit talking."
Doctor (astonished): "The sun beams are talking to you?"
Patient: "Well, yes. But mostly they talk to each other."
Doctor (scribbling furiously in the chart): "I see. Can anyone else
hear them talking?"
Patient (after a moment of stunned silence): "You're not LDS, are you?"
Robert Armstrong, M.D.
Last modified July 29, 1997
Page created by Dayl Brinkman.
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