Insult to Prevent Injury

In Diet and Weight, Excercise, Family Doctor, Mindful Eating, Self Image on August 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm

He was proud but still mad.

One of my favorite couples came in together to see me recently. One of the things that has struck me as a Family Doctor is how closely some couples’ health tracks with each other.

I usually get to see lab tests before I see the person for their follow-up visit. I often get a glimpse into how the past few months have gone for people by seeing how much their blood chemistries have changed. Liver tests look good or go wild in someone I know struggles with alcoholism, cholesterol levels may suddenly jump for a lady who had told me she feared for her job, that sort of thing.

A few years ago, I had a couple who had been very stable with their diabetes suddenly both have terrible blood sugars. I knew immediately something was wrong and when I asked, found out that the husband had been diagnosed with lung cancer a few weeks earlier. They had both completely stopped their medicines and diets out of stress and grief. Since then he has done great and both of them are back on track.

The couple last week was different. Once again I had seen a change in the blood tests but this change didn’t match: the husband was suddenly much improved but the wife right where she had been. Why?

Two months ago, I had sent the husband to see a cardiologist (heart specialist) for symptoms that concerned me for a coming heart attack. I was relieved to get the other doctor’s letter saying he didn’t believe the symptoms were heart-related and that he had recommended exercise and diet change.

I usually start family visits with the person who has the most issues or most pressing needs. I turned straight to Bart (pseudonym) and said, “What’s different?”

“Well, I lost some weight.” That much was obvious.

“Good, but why are you mad?”

“Cause that heart doctor you sent me to told me I was fat and lazy! He said the only thing wrong with me was that I needed to lose some weight, that my heart was fine.”

Oh. I pick my specialists carefully and I picked this one because he does more testing than his partners and I thought Bart needed a certain test. I hadn’t warned Bart that this doctor can be pretty blunt sometimes — oops.

“But, I’m glad he did, though I’m still mad at him. I haven’t felt this good and had this much energy in years!”

Sounds like I may need to add therapeutic insults to my medical bag of tricks!


Join the Conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: