A couple of days ago, I was sitting in a family doctor's office as a patient, waiting to meet my new PCP.
We physicians are notorious for neglecting our own health; a reported 30-50 % of physicians don't even have a PCP.* I have certainly been guilty of self-treating my own issues, which were sometimes probably reasonable (gluing my small finger laceration instead of going to the ER for a stitch) and were sometimes probably not (self-treating my asthma during residency).
After my friend and colleague suicided,** though, I began reading a lot about physician health, both mental and physical. I finally approached a pulmonology colleague about my worsening asthma symptoms and got myself to a PCP for some admittedly overdue health maintenance. Ever since, I have been haranguing the residents I work with about their own health, urging each to have a PCP to call his/her own.
So, there I was, following my own advice, waiting to meet my new PCP in this new town. And, I was nervous. Very nervous, truth be told. Would he be nice? Competent? Somewhat close to on time? Weirded out that I'm a family doc, too? Family docs can be fairly harsh critics of other family docs when they're the patient, after all.
As I sat there, I began thinking about all of the new patients I've seen since arriving here. Maybe they sat in our waiting room wondering about me with similar apprehensions. Did I allay their fears? Most of them have been quite gracious and welcoming to their newcomer family doc. I resolve to be less family-doc-critic and more gracious-patient when I meet my new doc.
He turned out to be quite kind, highly competent, and very respectful. And, yes, I behaved myself, thank you very much. :) I walked out of his office pleased with the encounter and satisfied that my health is in good hands in this new city.
I hope I've succeeded in allaying my new patients' fears as well.
** see post date 11-15-11