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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bonding With The Physician

I've come to a good understanding and bond with my own physician.  He's known what I do since I started seeing him and we'll sometimes talk about cases together.  I went to see him today and realized that veterinarians and human doctors have things in common besides our medical training.

He was running late today, and it was almost an hour from the time that I checked in until he came into the room.  Honestly, it didn't bother me.  I always bring a book or something to work on when I have a doctor's appointment, because there's usually a wait.  I'm also well aware of how your schedule can get off-kilter, so I'm very forgiving of other doctors' delays. 

When he entered he apologized for the wait.  Since we sometimes "talk shop" he explained one of the cases that delayed him.  He was seeing a man and talking to him about the health concern.  The patient's wife was also there and when the doctor was finished with her husband she said "Since I'm already here can you take a look at me too?"  I was a little floored by this, as any veterinarian can tell you that this is not uncommon in our profession.  Someone makes an appointment to bring their pet for a visit, then when they arrive they have more than just that one.  Sometimes the other pet is just there for "moral support".  But other times the client says "can you see my other pet also?"  We invariably do see them, as did my own doctor in his situation.  But since that was essentially an additional appointment it sets things behind.  Though I knew it happened to me and my colleagues, I never thought about it happening in the human field.

My doctor also talks to me differently than if I were a normal patient.  He treats me like a colleague, and discusses my cases in medical terms since I can understand on a level higher than most of the people he treats.  We talk about the symptoms and causes, and then discuss the treatment together.  However, I also realize that he knows more about human physiology and treatment than I do, so I defer to his expertise and don't presume to know as much as he does (something not all of my clients in the human medical profession seem to understand).  Really, it's kind of neat to talk to him on this level.

Basically the only difference between veterinarians and physicians is the species we treat.  And it's nice when that's recognized and those barriers come down.