Helping patients to understand the effects of lifestyle on risk-factors, explaining lab results and discussing disease processes, that’s all part of my job, right? Patients go through their lists and we discuss strategies for improving their health. When they have a disease process we discuss alternative therapies, causes and second opinions. I use a white board which the patients seem to like, for writing down important points or drawing anatomy or sometimes just suggesting a book I think they’ll like. I love the idea of participatory medicine and have “taken the pledge” to make this a priority in my practice. I’m blogging and tweeting and watching other blogs. I think I’m pretty good at making sure the patient understands his or her medication, disease, and followup before they walk out the door. Then a patient comes in and knocks me for a loop.
After a long discussion with a young woman regarding what I thought was an allergic reaction she walked back to the waiting room where my office staff overheard her say to her mother, “Dr. Nieder has no idea what this is and doesn’t know what to do for it?” WHAT?!?!???!?!?!? Honestly I spent a long time discussing what I thought had caused her reaction and how to treat it over the next couple of days. It was not severe enough for a prescription so did she think that without a medication she wasn’t “really” being treated? Was the fact that her presentation was puzzling and I was unsure to start make her think that I never put the puzzle pieces in place? Thank goodness her mom asked to speak with me!
Makes me wonder how many times I think I’ve been communicating just fine, when in reality what I’m saying sounds like all the adults in the Peanuts videos.