Wednesday, August 22, 2012

really liking one's doctor

I think I've told you before how much I like Dr. Hill. The first time he talked with me, he said something to me that was exactly what I say to patients (I think I've told this story, if not, please mention it in comments and I will tell you tomorrow). I really felt like he was a kindred spirit right then and that I would be able to understand what he meant when he said various things. It has proven to be true.

I find his visits and calls so comforting and really look forward to them. The other doctors are not the same. I realized the other day that a lot of my patients feel about me the very same way I feel about Dr. Hill, except we have been together in most cases a lot longer. With many of my patients, I have had experiences as intense as what I have had with Dr. Hill. It is really surprising to me to think about things this way. To me, I am just me, not really a very interesting person, but to various patients I found their cancers, sorted out their symptoms, helped motivate them to stop drinking or take an antidepressant. In some cases, I was the first person to listen to them, the person they came out to about their abusive husband, their sexuality or their substance abuse. This is probably why I have gotten a lot of really nice cards from patients since I've been sick.

Like many doctors, I give my cell phone number out occasionally to patients, usually ones who are very complicated. The patient I am thinking of now travels a lot and is tremendously complicated and a little fragile besides. I imagined him in an emergency room in Arizona in the middle of the night with the doctor trying to sort through pages of hospital notes, office notes, CT scans, etc. I knew that if they called me it would save the ED doctor half an hour and get better care for my patient. He actually never ended up calling me, fortunately. However, this particular patient was in the seacoast, assisting a friend on a construction job and looked me up in the phone book (we're listed). He stopped by my front door just because he really wanted to see me and make sure I was OK. He told me that he wouldn't have abused my cell phone number for this since I had not given it to him for that purpose. I was very touched and since thinking more about my own patient/doctor feelings, I feel I understand a little bit better what was motivating him.

It's some pretty powerful stuff we do. I feel very fortunate to have gotten to do it and am anxious for the good Dr. Hill to get cracking at returning me to my work.

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