I’ve given over a hundred fake medical histories in the past several years. I have two sons, no sons, my husband’s dead, I’m a lesbian; I drink a bottle of wine a night, use cocaine at parties, smoke a pack a day; I have headaches every day, untreated diabetes, incurable cancer. I’ve carried in a bag of pill bottles and can’t remember what they’re for, I’m lying in a hospital with chest pains, I’m fine except my husband beats me.
I work as what’s called a “standardized patient” at local med schools, portraying all these conditions so the students can practice.
My real doctor has known me for so long she no longer takes a history. So yesterday at the eye clinic, I had to stop and think. It felt quite odd to tell the truth.