This blog is an accounting of my personal journey to find fitness. All the content on this blog should be read as a biographical piece of literature, not a medical resource. I am a physician, but I am in no way giving medical advice or establishing doctor patient relationships with my readers. I am simply keeping a diary. If you are starting a diet or exercise program or require medical evaluation or advice, please see your own family physician.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm Sick and a Little Doctor Rant

Fever, chills, headache, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, runny nose, wheezing, body aches, no appetite, nausea, fatigue.....

Fabulous. People always ask me how I don't get sick being around all these sick people all the time. The answer is....I just don't. Most of the time I'm perfectly fine. But, about 1-2 times a year I get sick. Why it needs to be on a short week where I'll be off after tomorrow I don't know. I get my flu shot. I take my vitamins. I take my allergy meds. My asthma stuff however...not so much. Naughty patient.

Yesterday I came home at lunch to rest. I had some soup which was too tasty and then proceeded to lose it afterward. I didn't eat anything else the rest of the day except 4 wheat thins. I tried to drink water, but I had to drink it slowly so I didn't get in the high volume of water I had been drinking. On the bright side, I was way under my calorie limit.  Needless to say no workout yesterday and none today is on the docket. Luckily I just have to make it through today and then I'm off. Of course I have to cook and get to the grocery store to get the last few supplies. But, it's just us so at least I can not stress about it and even not cook if need be.

Let me just state this for ALL the family docs out there and well...any docs at all. Be courteous. WE are humans too. We like time with our families. We NEED sleep. If you are not bleeding, running a high fever, having chest pain, puking uncontrollably, can't breath or having some other SEVERE symptom, DON'T have us paged at MIDNIGHT.  I was paged last night for a refill on a med for a fever blister. That's right. Someone after listening to the message that says refills have to be done during business hours and this is the EMERGENCY line only decided that the fever blister needed attention STAT and had me paged.

I love my job. I do. I really feel like it is a calling. I love helping people. And for the most part I don't mind getting calls after hours. It doesn't happen that often as most of our patients are considerate. But, there is always that one jackhole in every crowd. You know the one. The one who drives down the shoulder to cut in line on the highway because apparently HIS time is more important than others. The one who sends his food back at the restaurant for any little thing. The one who yells at the little old lady for taking too long to find her coupons in the grocery line.  Words of wisdom, "Don't be the jackhole."

Being a doctor is a scary job. Sometimes the responsibility is more than I can bare. Those of us who really care really do worry because we try to do the right thing. Yesterday I found out a patient was in the hospital after overdosing trying to commit suicide. I saw the patient last week for depression. Here's the sad part and the part I am frankly a little ashamed about. My first thought was, " Did I document everything so I don't get sued or if I do I'll be protected?"  It's a sad world we live in. The next thought was is the patient OK? Are they getting taken care of?  Luckily the answers to all those questions is yes.

I have been sued. Yep I said it. It is a reality. A fact of life for almost all of us. But it is like the nasty secret. No one wants to talk about it. It's like the fact that you know your parents have sex, but you don't even want the thought to enter your mind, let alone speak it out loud. It is a terrible experience. It is just awful and it changes you. Unfortunately no matter how hard I try, it changed me.  It was years ago. It happened because I took care of someone without insurance. That person didn't follow my advice and then ended up with a bad outcome and huge medical bills. The patient sued me and the insurance settled, no fault to me. But, it makes me sick that the patient ended up with money.

It has made me very nervous about treating uninsured patients. That makes me very sad. Before, I felt it was my duty to help those less fortunate. Give something back. I still see those patients. I still give them discounts and try to provide them with free medications. But, I am worried every time. It is sad.  Those of us who are trying to do the right thing get screwed. It makes you jaded. You have to really try hard not to let it affect your relationships with your patients. It takes work.

And, I'm not going to stop doing the right thing. Even though I know it puts me at risk. That's why I get so tired of people blaming everything wrong with health care on the doctors. Those "rich doctors".  Rich doctor? Ha! I'm driving a 2004 Toyota Minivan. My partner's husband works for UPS and makes more than I do. There are easier ways to get rich. The system needs an overhaul. But, starting with cutting physician reimbursements while at the same time requiring more work and responsibility and more risk is ludicrous.  All this from someone who wants to see universal coverage.  That's the end of my rant for today.

So.....today I'm thankful that tomorrow I don't work. I am thankful for those patients that appreciate me. The ones who see the value in having a real relationship with a physician that really cares about their well being. The ones that don't treat my office like the freakin drive thru. That understand that if I'm behind it's because someone down the hall needed a little extra attention. The other day we had to call an ambulance because a patient was having a heart attack in my office. Some bunghole down the hall yelled at my assistant because he had to wait an extra 30 minutes. And even when he had been apologized to several times and told we could reschedule throughout the ordeal, he was still yelling. He will be finding another doctor.  I am thankful that owning my practice gives me that right. 

If you have a family doctor that treats you like a person, really cares about you, is willing to listen to you and work with you to decide on what's best for your health, be thankful. If not, keep looking. We're out here.


  1. Here here! Hope you feel better soon

  2. I wish I had a DR like you!

    Feel better soon!

  3. Hi Dr. F...
    So sorry to hear that you're ill. There is a very nasty virus going around, and I have had it for almost 3 weeks (feeling better today). Just when I think it's gone, it raises its ugly head, and the sore throat comes back, etc. It's been that way for everyone around here.

    The information you shared about the life of a physician is very interesting and yet disconcerting. It has to be difficult to put yourself on the line every day to help patients and yet not be sure if "the other shoe is going to drop" (to quote an old cliche). Take care of yourself. You sound like a Dr. I would want for myself.

  4. Ugh on the Midnight Emergency, and I understand exactly that knee jerk reaction, "Did I do something wrong? Is everything documented?"

    Major waterline break out here in Parker County this summer. My first reaction was not "Oh crap, I don't have any water". It was "Holy Sh*t!!! Construction JUST FINISHED on a major waterline I designed. Please, PLEASE don't be my project!!" I was on the phone and pulling up plans within seconds, just to make sure I wasn't going to get sued. *whew*...it was another engineering firm, a competitor. What was REALLY awful was the unmitigated glee I felt once I knew the scoop....

  5. Feel better soon! That is an order!!!

  6. Take 2 Nurses, and call me in the morning!
    Heehee - something like that!
    Hope you feel better soon!

  7. Sorry you are feeling rotten, I am just getting over mine. My lady bits doctor is great, he listens to me and makes me feel like I am a part of my treatment rather than a thing sitting on his table. Your patients are lucky to have you.

  8. I hope you feel better soon:) I have a few doctors who I really like and appreciate. Others... not so much.

  9. Hope you feel better soon... I like how this sums up to a what makes a fine family doc. We certainly have that and the thought of ever having to see someone else is not a goog thought. I had a 1/2 dozen family docs before finding this one and I am so glad I shopped around vs settling for convenience. Um, what is this talk about our parents having sex? Say it aint so!

  10. I diagnose a case of misplaced Cowboys fan aggression. ;-)

    Hope you get some time off for Thanksgiving to relax. I'm on a snow day in Seattle, so I've got the relaxation thing down today!

  11. My brother is a doctor too, so I know where you're coming from. He loves that "rich doctor" comment too.

    Hope you know that there are people out there who love their doctors and who appreciate all you do.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  12. I was taking a little break at work reading, this, thinking how thankful I am for my PCP (she rocks -- a friend of mine and I refer to her as Dr. Awesome, LOL), and then the phone rang.

    It was the Elder's daycare provider. Seems the Elder's forehead met another child's front tooth during a game of tag football. Four stitches (my kid) and one crown (the other child) later and all is well-ish, but I was sure glad I had been having happy thoughts about medical professionals when I got that call!

    Feel better, Dr. F :D

  13. Sorry you don't feel good! Great advice about being respectful of our Doctors need to have time off. I have a great family doctor and am so pleased to have found him.

    I want to thank you for your blog and all that you share with your readers. I am grateful to have found your blog!

    Wishing you and your family a day filled with blessings!

  14. Well said post. Too bad you are far away in Texas or we'd all want to hoop up with you as our Doc. Enjoy some time off with the fam. Congrats on your yellow belt. And Happy Thanksgiving.

  15. Because of you I have a new doc that I really do adore. I've only seen her twice, but I just love her. Asks questions, seems to care about the answer, is proactive. I hope she stays around these parts. She took my lump seriously. It came out. It was benign. Yay!


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