Angry then sad

I'm running behind in my office hours, which is par for the course these days, then I meet this new patient who is in his mid-50s. I ask him why he's here and he says, "I think I have sugar. I tested it about five years ago and it was 300. Now, my hands and feet get numb." At that moment, I felt really angry because I knew I would have to do a lot of patient educaton on what probably was diabetes. And, this would further set me back in my schedule which would mean I would have to be further apologetic to the patients in my running late. Basically all this stuff about me.

Then, as I was talking with this nice gentleman, I asked him the long list of review of system questions. He asked me, "What does heartburn mean?" My heart sank at that moment. In my experience, I see people who typically abuse their bodies -- like with tobacco and other substances, and then come in on a new patient visit to ask me to fix them. This guy who hasn't seen a doctor in decades, does not even understand the word 'heartburn.' But, through his life experience, knew that 'sugar' (as he called it) probably was causing his 'numbness' and wanted to come to the doctor's office just to try to get better.

Yes, my morning schedule is completely blown out of the water. But, it's nice patients like this that keep you grounded and remind you (every once in while), why you're doing what you're doing.