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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    Sunday, June 28, 2009
    Overdue Update

    I've been feeling bad for a while now that I have not posted more on this blog. But pretty much all I have to talk about is work, and I don't want to be posting about other people's (which is to say patients') travails. It's bad form to reveal someone else's personal tragedies. Listing is one thing, details another.

    Though I haven't written about it, much has been happening here in Feet First Land and not all of it good. Back at the start of the year I went on a lovely trip which I still intend to post about more someday... but I returned to several other changes: my two former office partners have left -- one moved to NYC, one moved just down the hall -- and I now have two new partners. I will refer to one of these two new partners as The Thorn In My Side, or TTIMS, because that's what he is. TTIMS is, at a rough guess, 35 years older than I am. He's a nice enough fellow but he seems to have graduated from a residency program circa 1912. Lest you think I am exaggerating, I will tell you that he calls all female MD's he works with "honey" and "babe" and squeezes their arms -- not meaning to be creepy but affectionate. I can deal with that (just), but there's more. He also micromanages (in the sense of holding a magnifying glass over his secretary) his office, but apparently to little effect: He sees about half the number of patients that I do. The biggest problem is that he perpetually complains but refuses to change anything about his office arrangements. My motto has always been "Don't complain unless you're willing to take action," but this is exactly what he won't do.

    In addition, and more saddening, is the almost endless parade of bad news among my patients. A new patient with mental status changes turned out to have a glioblastoma (brain tumor) and died within a month. I've had several new diagnoses of lung cancer, brain cancer, myeloma and a probable amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. And a beloved relative has been diagnosed with a serious illness, is now undergoing chemo and will need further aggressive treatment later this summer (I have been signed up as caregiver when relative begins this treatment). In short it's been a difficult six months.

    The good news: I think I have finally found the impetus to begin the novel about primary care medicine that I've always wanted to write. Who knows if anything will come of it.




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