Monday, August 5, 2013

Family Medicine: If It was Easy, It Wouldn't be Fun

I have fun every day being a Family Physician and doing what I do.  I get to meet and interact with wonderful people whose situations may have taken a turn for the worse, possibly caused by one of several thousand variables, somewhere between the biosphere and their atoms.  The complexity of the situation and the unlimited amount of variables involved make it a nice challenge..

The complexity of the human condition is remarkable.  Identifying strategies to engage people about their life and health for mutually beneficial purposes is a daily challenge.  We will never fully know at the atomic level exactly what is happening, but we often seem to get close enough for people to recover from disease.  I'm amazed at the make-up of human biology.  I'm amazed at the ways each individual relates to their health and well-being.  The complexity is part of the fun.

Simplifying the complexity is fun, too.  We get to think and engage others about their values, goals and dreams.  OUR values, goals and dreams are involved in our shared decisions with patients, too.

Over the years, I've found some processes that seem to be facilitative in the patient-physician problem solving challenge.  First is to RESPECT each other.  Trust and truthfulness seem to follow respect, enabling better connection around the concerns of each person.  This is a key to understanding, diagnosing and treating disease.

Respect is also a key ingredient for the kind of long term relationship that patients and Family Physicians enjoy.  The respect for each other is helpful during critical illness and/or end of life situations.  Complex decisions become easier after years of sharing and respect.  I get to be reminded of that too frequently these days with an ageing patient population and an ageing physician (me).  We share our thoughts about life, family, God and death.  Not just once.  Not just at the very end of life.  Concurrent with treating multiple diseases and conditions which involve multiple medications and sometimes multiple other physicians, we discuss these end of life issues.

That's part of Family Medicine.  It's challenging.  If it was easy, it wouldn't be fun.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for being a model for what a Family Physician should be.