Sunday, November 6, 2011

Family Medicine: Saturday Morning in the Office

I signed up to participate in NHBPM as a blogger, learner, reader, sharer.  

Here we go. The event is described below:

"It’s National Health Blog Post Month! Day 1

by Amanda
Happy November! Today we’re officially kicking off our month-long health blog challenge. Join us in posting every day of the month (yes, even weekends!) about health. In case that sounds too daunting or you’re worried you can’t come up with any ideas – we’ve created a prompt for every day. You can feel free to grab a prompt and run with it – take it wherever it inspires you to go. Whether you’re participating in the challenge or  just want some ideas to get their creativity flowing – feel free to reference the prompts.

Pretend you’re writing a book about your life, your health community, your condition, or Health Activism. What would you want to say? What type of book would you write? Is it a collection of short stories, a fictional novella, personal essay collection, or memoir?"

Saturday Morning in The Family Doctor's Office    by A. Patrick Jonas, MD

The office is rather quiet.  Only one Medical Assistant and one Receptionist work with one Family Physician who covers Saturday morning hours.  A couple of patients are already scheduled for follow up of an acute illness seen earlier in the week.  Another is coming in for continuing care of chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, lumbar disc disease with low back pain, etc.  The rest of the six to nine patients I will see will call in with acute illness or injury.  Several patients are also scheduled to have blood drawn by our MA.

The patients are all unique with problems to discuss, lament, solve or treat.  Our relationship is the key to our interaction.  Many are unsure of their human worth and seek validation.  The trust that we develop in each other becomes an anchor to allow sometimes challenging explorations of difficult situations with concurrent human sharing and respect.

A book could be written about each one of my patients.  If I were writing a book, I would include them, since they make me the Family Physician that I am.  But wait, the rules of confidentiality preclude me writing too specifically about them. They aren't allowed to be identifiable by readers of my book.  That's sad.  They are so worthy of written honor as citizens of the human community.  I offer a silent tribute to them as I hear their stories, validate their importance and celebrate our mutual humanity.

I am a Family Physician.  I love it!  I am so blessed to witness the power of the human spirit and the beauty of human connection.  "Love is the treatment of first choice," I tell many patients.  There are many natural and medical therapies that complement love in promoting healing and wholeness for the many situations and conditions that manifest in my patients.

Saturday, here I come.  I review the schedule of patients and their reasons for their appointments, then walk to the first exam room (the "East Room", so named because of the decor in the room consisting of items from the Far East, such as the calendar and framed tapestries) where I take the paper chart out (the Electronic Medical Record- EMR arrives this month) of the rack outside the door and peruse it.  I note the patient's name, their chronic problem list and demographic data and the data and note just written by our medical assistant (MA) including the vital signs, body mass index and their current situation that constitutes the reason for the visit (or "Chief Complaint").

I usually have lots of thoughts about the patient and the context of their life from previous encounters.  I also relate to the rest of the family (we are family fanatics with a special family based practice model) so I may think of them also before using the information at hand to expand my thoughts about the cause and possible treatments for the main patient's current problem.  I ask myself if I'm ready to see this patient.  If so, I knock and enter.

Saturday is officially under way.  I'm greeting the patient and those in the exam room.  Another chapter in my secret book is unfolding.  Title: Love is the Treatment of Choice.

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