Welcome to my first-ever attempt at a medical blog.
I have the absolute best job in the world. I am fortunate to be a family physician. Where else can you spend 10 hours a day talking with and listening to interesting people, potentially making a difference in each other’s lives and actually being paid well to do so? Entering family medicine, I had the idea that it would be the right fit for me, and indeed it has far exceeded my expectations. Whereas many other fields in medicine over the last 25 years have been more lucrative, I have no regrets having entered the field of family medicine. I graduated from medical school 21 years ago and have completed approximately 80,000 patient visits. I am one of the founding partners in a small group practice in suburban Rhode Island and a clinical faculty member for the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
One of the facets of family medicine I enjoy so much is gaining an understanding of the psychosocial context of the lives of my patients. With this understanding and the opportunity to see my patients when they are well, this allows me the ability to recognize when they are not doing as well physically or emotionally.
Several years ago, I had a patient come to see me after he was in the hospital for a couple of weeks with abdominal pain. He was under the care of the surgical service and received much testing, had his appendix removed, was told he had colitis, and continued to have symptoms after discharge. When I saw him in follow-up, having not seen him for a few months, I noticed immediately he did not look like his usual self. He was thinner and weaker, and his spirits were down.
This was my first time seeing him for this current problem and I decided to go back to the very beginning of his current illness and perform a thorough history and physical. As I was obtaining his history in detail, and after reviewing the treatments that he had received so far, he stopped me and remarked, “this must be really interesting for you.” My response was that I didn’t need an interesting story but that what I wanted was for him to be well. Over the last 2 decades, I have come to realize that what interests me most as a family physician is not the diagnoses or the pathophysiology of disease, but rather the processes involved in improving the quality of life, health, and well-being of my patients.
In my subsequent blogs, I look forward to sharing some my personal and professional experiences.