Feet First

“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Saturday, July 05, 2008
    Talk to Me

    Talking to my patients about their lives and what they do is actually what I love most about my job in primary care; the time constraints I work under are the most frustrating thing about it. I've been fortunate to have some interesting conversations with patients lately. A couple days ago I was seeing a (rather anxious) patient with a lot of different complaints. I sifted through as many as I could and asked her to make a follow up appointment for this coming Friday for further discussion.

    "Well, I can't make it that day," she responded, looking a bit self-conscious. "I have my ukulele practice session that day."

    "Really?" Ukulele?

    "Yes." Before my eyes this woman began to brighten up, lighten up as she talked about her hobby. "I heard this recording of --" she named someone who's apparently pretty proficient at the instrument, but his name escapes me -- "and it just amazed me. There are so many styles of playing! I got my roommate interested, and it's just a lot of fun. I live in an apartment building and we can't have pets."

    "But you can have ukuleles," I finished. "I imagine there are a fair number of people around here who play. There's a significant Hawaiian population around here, especially in the South Bay."

    "Yes, but you can go on line - there are tutorials, and videos..."

    I stared at her. "I've been living under a rock, haven't I?" I asked.

    The conversation stayed with me for the rest of the day and I later shared it with V., who instantly broke into an imitation of Tiny Tim doing "Tiptoe Through the Tulips."




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