Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Angry then sad

I'm running behind in my office hours, which is par for the course these days, then I meet this new patient who is in his mid-50s. I ask him why he's here and he says, "I think I have sugar. I tested it about five years ago and it was 300. Now, my hands and feet get numb." At that moment, I felt really angry because I knew I would have to do a lot of patient educaton on what probably was diabetes. And, this would further set me back in my schedule which would mean I would have to be further apologetic to the patients in my running late. Basically all this stuff about me.

Then, as I was talking with this nice gentleman, I asked him the long list of review of system questions. He asked me, "What does heartburn mean?" My heart sank at that moment. In my experience, I see people who typically abuse their bodies -- like with tobacco and other substances, and then come in on a new patient visit to ask me to fix them. This guy who hasn't seen a doctor in decades, does not even understand the word 'heartburn.' But, through his life experience, knew that 'sugar' (as he called it) probably was causing his 'numbness' and wanted to come to the doctor's office just to try to get better.

Yes, my morning schedule is completely blown out of the water. But, it's nice patients like this that keep you grounded and remind you (every once in while), why you're doing what you're doing.


ladybug said...

hey doc!
i havent told anyone much in my real life about my new blog. and even fewer have i actually shared it with. the anonymity (sp?) is welcome, even tho the web in itself is hardly anonymous, if that makes sense. HAHA
i withheld more personal information so that i might have a place to vent as well... especially about docs where i work! [just teasing!]
i look forward to reading more of your stuff...

ladybug, future RN

Surgeon In My Dreams said...

Glad to see a new face! I love all you medical bloggers. I can tell yours will be "good stuff" and I even went and added a little doo-flotchit with your name on it to my blog.

Jan in SC

Unknown said...

It's unfortunate to know that some people just have no clue about their own bodies and how to take care of them. What's really scary is the amount of people who just watch commercials and expect us to prescribe based on that!

Anonymous said...

Well, I hope you were able to take a few deep breaths and spend some time with this guy?

I hate to go to the doctor too and tend to wait until things are getting kind of bad with me, healthwise.

But I will never forget a doctor I had never seen before, new HMO, who did a very quick and (I would imagine thorough?) physical on me. Barely talked and no eye contact. Standing with her shoulder out the door, she asked "Did you have any questions abut your health?" and I said, yeah, I always wake up at 2:00 am and have trouble falling back asleep.

The doctor looked horrified, looked at her WATCH and screamed, "I do NOT have time to deal with depression." Uh, so was that a snap diagnosis or what? After THAT VISIT, did not go back for three or four years. I think next visit was to the ER for a coupla stitches. Would have tried to do that myself but lacked the equipment.