Sunday, August 25, 2013
The doctor-patient relationship is a bidirectional investment. Over years of visits, I have become intimately familiar with the people who inhabit my exam room. I ask about their families and hobbies, not to be a more avid physician, but to be a better human being. I am not just pedestrian. Making the right diagnosis is a joy but doesn't sustain, becoming part of the intricate stitching of the quilt of another's life is ultimately what pulls me out of bed every morning. When a patient dies, or moves, or leaves to see another physician, the effect can be devastating.
I accept the inevitability of my career choice. I hear the sound of the door closing most every time a new patient enters my office. I will journey with them, maybe for days, maybe years. I will give of myself freely and try to take sparingly. It is a familiar cycle. Seasons change.
People come and go.
When I decided to convert to a concierge practice, I hoped to retain ten percent of my patients. I fully realized that, in a sense, I was closing the door on the other ninety percent. I planned carefully. I sent my letters six months early to help people land on their feet. As the months have passed, jubilation has given way to harsh reality.
I now have to help plan for the mass exodus of many people I have spent the last ten years worrying about. I stressed over their heart attacks and strokes as well as their colds and gout attacks. I have held hands, mourned losses, and celebrated triumphant victories.
I knew intellectually what I was in for when I made this decision.
But right here, right now, in the midst of it I can't help but pause.
This humongous, cataclysmic, overwhelming loss
is nothing less then suffocating.
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 6:12 PM