Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Real Country Doctor

A patient having his blood pressure taken by a...Image via Wikipedia
Well, I'm home for the weekend, having gotten away early, following a short day in the clinic, and I've got to say I'm enjoying this rural medicine rotation immensely. In part, I'm sure it has to do with the fact that I'm personally getting to see at least a couple of patients each day on my own before we're joined by my preceptor, and today there were three, all in a row.

I can't begin to tell you how good it feels to do this once again, after such a long dry spell. It's been four years since my little cubbyhole of an office in Denver where I sat with patients, argued with managed care, and dreamed of being a doctor. Walking into an examination room, now, and greeting someone I've never met, asking them what brings them to the clinic, is so much like coming home it's almost beyond words.

What has surprised me about the experience thus far is how much fun I'm having. Previously, my encounters with family medicine have been so-so. Not bad, but not great, either. This time, I can hardly wait to get to the office at 8.30, about the time the nurse-receptionist-office manager-cheer leader in residence and anything else you want to call her, arrives. She's got a wry sense of humor that is wonderful and she knows medicine inside-out. I told her today that when her boss retires, she may as well forget about retiring herself, because I'm hiring her next.

By nine, my preceptor arrives, and the first patient shortly thereafter. If we having breathing room, we'll see this one together. If it's like this morning, the nurse has one lined up for both of us and I'm in heaven. Thirty minutes later, I report to him what I've found and we round on the patient together. There is always a teaching moment somewhere in the mix and I'm amazed at how much he knows and how much I'm learning. And this has only been the first week.

I'm glad to be home, to have a chance to walk my dog and cuddle with the cat, to clear the fresh snow away from the barn and dig out my mailbox that's buried forty inches deep with more snow on the way. But you know? I honestly can hardly wait for Monday to come. I'm seeing diseases I've only read about the past few years, evaluating patients with a growing confidence, and learning about medicine in a way that makes me wish I could scan my preceptor and his nurse into my iphone and carry them with me right through residency. He's a real country doctor and I'm a country boy who's having the time of his life.

(Pubic Domain image via Wikipedia)
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