Friday was my first day back in a clinic! Getting to see patients again reminded me of why I went into medicine in the first place. We are in a very special position as health care providers being able to and expected to be there for our patients and having them trust us with all their vulnerabilities. It is so GREAT to be back in there!
One of my first patients that day was a young man coming in with anxiety which was significantly affecting his life. It was his first visit to the doctor about this and he was willing to sit with me and tell me about his experiences. Having not been involved in clinical medicine since April and not been in an actual clinic since November, I felt a lot of anxiety myself when he first told me what had brought him in. But I listened quietly and tried to question gently and together we came up with a plan that I think we both felt happy with. I was so proud of him for taking charge of his health and coming in, and I was touched that he felt comfortable sharing with me.
The next patient was an older lady with COPD which had become very poorly controlled and presented a completely new experience. We worked together over the visit to try to find solutions to improve her health while working with other aspects of her life that were limiting it – from her husband’s health to financial strains to driving restrictions. I don’t know that we did come up with a solution for her in the 15 minutes we had. But we set up new plans and arranged for a follow up which I hope I get to be there for.
And so the day continued, with each patient bringing new life to the conditions I’d learned about through medical school. I left the clinic that day with a full heart – I truly love clinical medicine. I think my time with patients is going to get me a lot of strength and energy over this next year. I’m still doing my masters classes so I will only be spending two days a week in the clinic, but I think those two days might end up being the high points each week.
I’m back again tomorrow and I’m really excited! I’ve missed this. I’ve missed their stories.