Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Family Medicine at Thanksgiving: I'm Thankful for People. They are Great

People are great.  I interact with 22-35 people individually or in groups of two or three (when several family members are present in the exam room) each day in my Family Medicine Practice.  This week is extra interesting because of Thanksgiving (TG).  These folks are fascinating. They each have a worthy life story, focused on the encounter with their family doctor to achieve a specific end point (less pain, more function, etc.).

During this month of November, I'm interested in how they will manifest, enhance or diminish their family strengths and values.  What are they doing for TG?  What will their role be in the family gathering?  Who cooks what and who does what as part of their various traditions for TG?  What roles are changing for our more senior patients at TG this year?

Who is infected and contagious for TG this year?  Who is still angry at their sister for bringing the sick baby to last year's TG, but possibly bringing an infected toddler to the family gathering this year?  Who feels bad about going of town, missing the usual gathering at their brother's home?

Who just got their flu shot and wants it to be effective for the Kentucky trip this year?  Who just had Flumist nasal spray for their flu immunization and wants to know how long they might be contagious since grandma is on chemotherapy for her breast cancer?  Who is on medication for Strep throat?  For Shingles?  Are they contagious?

Who is a great shopper, intending to shop at midnight on "Black Friday"?  Who is a great football fan that can't wait for the day after TG for college grudge games? (Ohio State vs Michigan, anyone?)

We Family Physicians get to hear about all these opportunities, risks and benefits of family life during this great American Holiday.   It's enlightening and sometimes challenging to respond to all the unique questions generated by our patients and their families.

I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and weekend, remembering to GIVE THANKS for your blessings.

What questions do you have (for your doctor)?

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