Tuesday, December 07, 2010

What's a Doctor to do?

Most internists, family practitioners and so on went into their fields wanting to help ordinary people with ordinary problems. So what's a doctor to do faced with a 70+ patient during an annual physical with no complaints, blood pressure under control, and all the stats on a blood test well within the target numbers? The patient is reassured that nothing has gone out of whack over the past year and has no complaints to ask about -- well, there's a bit of wax in the ears. That could be taken care of. And a couple of cholesterol stats have moved a couple of points in the wrong direction [but still are in the good range].

Truly I felt sorry for my perky new internist when I had my physical the other morning. She couldn't get any warm fuzzies from giving me good advice [get the ear wax taken out]. She is not a naturally chatty or particularly personable person in her professional milieu [I've never met her socially] so she was left with the usual, "a little more exercise." I vowed I wished I could, if the weather would cooperate. "Try the track at the community sports center. Try mall walking," said she. I was sorry to rain on her parade but I don't do boring [track], I don't do geriatric [mall walking]. I do beach and woods, natural places with natural sounds and quiet enough to think my own thoughts. If worst comes to worst, I'll walk around the neighborhood but I don't like the company of cars and trucks. Perhaps I'm a difficult patient. For my part, I'd wish many more patients were like me but I don't have any secrets to share.

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