Friday, November 2, 2007

The new Dr. Smak

This journey is certainly changing many people, in many ways, myself included. I'm wondering how it will alter my practice as a primary care doctor.

It seems to me that most primary care doctors have a baseline level of concern from which they operate. On one end of the spectrum are the docs who elect to err on the side of caution and do more 'ruling out' of dangerous conditions. On the other are those more laissez-faire docs, who assume health until proven otherwise, the "call me if it's not better in a month" docs. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, and the wise doctor learns to find a flexible middle ground, depending on the condition.

On the whole, I have in the past leaned toward the laissez-faire side. Part of this is my baseline level of concern - my mom was certainly not a rush-the-kid-to-the-doctor type. Part of this is my population - I generally follow a younger, more healthy population.

I'm guessing my leaning is going to change, at least for a while. I'm not sure I'll be capable of NOT ordering a CT on every headache that walks in, especially in my young, healthy kids.

Everything seems more ominous now. Little things, rare things, stuff in the past that I didn't worry at all about. I know that it is in part a reaction to what I am going through. However, this is my first personal serious brush with mortality, and I know that part will not fade.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

i've thought often that you must be a great doctor and now think that as much as i hate this experience for you, and i so much do, that you will take everything you learn and become an even more amazing doctor/person :)

SOCKS said...

The previous post by anonymous shares my thoughts about you - and it is written so well - I need not restate it.

Anonymous said...

Ditto to the above in CAPS!

hlnc

ten out of ten said...

I don't see how it could be any other way.

From the Pit said...

I just know you are a fantastic doctor and that your patients love and appreciate you. I also know that you are a fantastic everything---mother, wife, person, daughter, etc. You are wise and strong and I pray for you and yours.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Smak, Your patients are fortunate to have a physician who knows the importance of listening, knows the importance of speaking in a way that is understood by the lay person, and meshing the "laid back" approach with the thorough investigative approach. I know you will find that happy middle ground.
take care K3P3

janemarieMD said...

You are making explicit what many docs do--take to heart their most recent, vivid, painful experiences. I spent 6 years working at a cancer hospital before my current job and it certainly influenced me!

Best wishes to you and your family, and keep blogging please.

rlbates said...

Dr Smak, here if you need anything.

Anonymous said...

take care k3p3

SOCKS said...

Dr Smak,

I sure hope you are "moved" to write a post soon - I
miss your wit, insight, sensitivity and willingness to share.

Anonymous said...

I agree with SOCKS, miss hearing from you. Thinking and prayer for you and yours daily.
K3P3