February 17, 2015
While I would like to believe that I am better at predicting storms than the weather- man, unfortunately, I am not. If you are wondering if I’ve lost it, I haven’t. Yesterday, my first patient of the morning left the office by ambulance. After taking a careful history and performing a thorough exam, my assessment was that he was in imminent danger, much the way the weatherman declares a tornado/storm alert.
Yes, a major storm was in the making, one we docs call sepsis. Calling in the paramedics is the equivalent of calling up the National Guard. As always, they responded quickly and efficient, securing my patient against what could have proven to be a major tempest. Today, my patient is much better. The storm has blown over and, thanks to G-d, was nowhere near as devastating as I had predicted.
Unfortunately, there are times when medical storms strike fast and appear from nowhere. No matter how good my patient and I are at practicing preventative care, there are many occasions when medical twisters touchdown in our lives wreaking havoc.
So, what can we do? In the case of a severe weather alert, most of us get busy securing our homes, checking on our flashlights, making sure we have gas for our generators and snow blowers and fill our pantry. We check on our loved ones and neighbors and then hunker down for the night.
In the case of a medical alert called by your doc, respond promptly, heeding his advice. If the doc says, “Call 911,” call 911. Take proper precautions. If your doc warns of an approaching storm in the form of a future heart attack/stroke/diabetes, take action by improving your lifestyle, complying with medication and seeing the specialist when recommended.
Yes, my predictions are often wrong. When I warn of impending doom and it fails to develop either due to your precautions or not, I’m one happy camper. Now, if I can only figure out how to predict those sudden acts of terror that occur when illness is lurking in the wings but invisible to the modern medical eye.