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, January 11, 2003
    Day Six

    Not so bad. I had two admissions today but being able to have someone else cover some of the patients for me was such a relief. I am sitting here trying to deal with all my paperwork for these patients - I have to submit a report stating what days I saw each patient and the care level of the visit. (How many services did the patient require, in other words). It's a pain. But if I don't the group doesn't get paid and I don't get credit.

    A couple of vignettes. Yesterday I was busy charting in the "step-down" unit, one step below intensive care. One patient was looking relatively well, at least well enough to pace the halls and get some exercise. I vaguely heard a nurse asking him if he could go back to his room for a minute, but didn't pay attention. A few minutes later, I looked up to see the unmistakable shape of a shrouded body on a gurney, with the same nurse waiting for the service elevator.

    "Now I see why you told that guy to go back to his room," I said dryly. She grinned.

    Then today I looked in on a patient who had her spleen out three days ago and she was heading down the hall for a walk, wearing a nice robe-type dress and with a stylish turban on her head.

    "You look terrific!" I exclaimed. She smiled and said, "I'll feel terrific as soon as I pass some of this gas." (Her intestinal activity hasn't caught up with the rest of her yet.) She's our Happy Ending of the Week. She came in with a large splenic mass that, for various reasons, we thought would turn out to be cancer. We were wrong; she's fine. And the happiest person I've ever seen.



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