Saturday, August 29, 2009

Affirmation, Hope, Confirmation

Walking into the medical clinic, a little tired and nervous, I met with the HR Director immediately to process through the HIPAA paperwork, get my photo taken, and then onto exam rooms.

I had never met this doctor, he is my father's physician, and had only heard things about him all of which were great! The nurses made sure I knew where things were, joked about seeing a youtube video showing Michael Jackson alive, and showed me the doctor's personal office. The doc was still in an exam room so I was left by myself.

Sitting quietly in the office, I did look around: books from med school on the shelves, Stedman's as well, true to form from what I'd seen before, plenty of pictures of the children, amazing amounts of magazines, the requisite degrees, and gum. I laughed at the gum. Guess docs suffer from bad breath fear as well!

Then it was time to meet the physician. Without much time to chat, I was led into my first patient visit. Eight hours later, I left the clinic with a smile on my face and a flutter inside that I finally "knew"...

The time flew by so fast the only thing I really remember stalling was that short period where my lunch and I got a "divorce". Apparently, nerves, standing in one place for a few hours, not eating, and cottage cheese don't mix well. Note to self: eat before next shadow day!

Things that stood out to me:

dictation - I had heard how long it could take, but little clue as to what gets put into dictating records, how much information, nor how to decipher what's important and what's not; protocols and strategy were part of the entry, much like I would have done for a business, goals and requirements were stated

rapport - the physician had amazing rapport with his patients; I asked later if a lot of that is to glean information that might not be readily forthcoming if asked directly; the answer was yes; he was also able to calm nervous patients by just listening and relating

pace - rapidly going from one patient to the next with little time, I wondered how he could be "that" knowledgable about each individual finally asking him if he prepped for his next day's patient load by reviewing the list the night before; he said no that one reason FP is so amazing is that over the course of the years, he's gotten to know where people are in their health, etc. He also commented that this could be a double edged sword: knowing a patient too well could cause some to overlook minuscule comments - one I even caught and asked him about - so he said with caution, he listens and asks never assuming anything

joy - pure joy; as I learned last year, physicians love what they do and they truly love being doctors. That joy was present all day - he never once said "this sucks" or "that makes me want to leave" even while pointing out the stacks and reams of paperwork that each file needed

odds/ends - comfortable shoes with good soles and support, blinking white light = patient ready for doctor, no BMWs in parking lot, socks

At the end, fully knowing I was hoping for more than one day, he offered to let me tag along again. I'm ever so thankful I got kicked in the butt last year to chase this dream, ever so thankful for the people - past and present - who've been placed in my life who encourage, support, affirm, lift, and yesterday, confirmed, this is where I need to go.

Rural family medicine... with all it's humility, humanity, compassion, sensibility, and hope... it's where I belong.

At 45 (as of August 17th), I finally figured it out.

2 comments:

putnam2800 said...

:) congrats! glad you enjoyed it and found your calling!

A Doc 2 Be said...

Thank you for your ongoing support! As you know, the journey is tenuous at times but so very worth it.