Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bonding with your physican/patient

I am sitting here tonight, after having run across a collection of cards, photographs and letters from my patients. I had been in a medical practice in Oklahoma for 22 years, in a part of the world where people stay put. Most of my patients had been so for years, and we traveled through life hand in hand.

That was the world of private practice in a small town that grew.  their .  . I helped it grow, along with the thousands of lives I guided into this world, assisted by their mothers. We forged a bond throughout the years that I hold dear to this day. They taught me to be strong, to be loving, forgiving, to persevere, to see the bright side of any situation. We respected and loved one another, as women who have shared life's most intimate moments. Our lives were enmeshed as we met each other out and about in the grocery store, the little league fields, church services, and school events. I remember one afternoon another mom asking me if I had enrolled my boys for little league. She said that was the last day, and took a check from me to Parks and Rec to get those boys signed up!   Another woman made me aprons from old tablecloths to keep my clothing clean during procedures. I started a happy drawer of the cards, letters, and pictures I accumulated through the years. Some were of growing families, some in the handwriting of elderly women, some from far away, remembering me.  It's amazing how thin I looked back then!
Economics ended my practice in 2005,  and I moved into the legions of employed physicians.

Starting over was more difficult than I had imagined, however I found my bearing in a new environment. New patients became "established" patients and the cycle continued of sharing, and bonding. After the death of my husband, it was time to move again. This time the move was to Florida, where people move around lots more. I doctor the snowbird crowd, and share patients with their physicians "up north". The bonds are harder to come by, and that is always what inspired me to do the hard work, and go back for more. I am sure over time, the bonds will be forged again, but never like they were in Oklahoma.

Private practice has become too expensive and complicated for the average doctor to maintain. Employment assures a steady known income, which is becoming rare in the medical world. Employment also means the covenant between a physician and a community is no longer the basis of starting a practice. We are more mobile, just legos, to be removed and replaced, any one of the same color and shape will do.

Sentimentally yours,
Ladies Doctor

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