Friday, April 26, 2013

Family Medicine Activist: What if You AND Your Doctor are Both Tired?

#HAWMC Day 24

Do your best = A life long challenge.  We want to do our best.  Sometimes we are out of sync, though, but we still have to function.

People with chronic diseases often have fatigue and are less than their best self when seeing physicians.  Especially if they are ill on top of their chronic disease(s).  That's when we see them in our office.  We aren't always on top of our game, either. 

Question:  How can we practice and help people if both of us are misaligned with our best self?

Secret: Doctors get tired, too.  Brain tired, at times.

Answer:  Seek clarification from each other- as often as it takes to understand.  Listen.  Take notes- both patient and doctor.  (I have note pads in each exam room so each of us can jot down items of importance).  Share your uncertainty- both of you patients and doctors.  Sometimes this takes the form of probabilities.  ("There's an 85% chance that this medicine will have no negative effects...",  "Doctor, I'm very likely to have to fly to Denver in three days and stay for a three day weekend...")

Share, Share, Share.  Trust.  Trust.  Trust.  Listen. Listen. Listen.  Clarify.  Clarify.  Clarify.  Take notes.  Take notes.  Take notes.

These are keys to functioning in the patient-physician relationship when we're not at our best.

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