Did you ever tell your kid, “I’d like to be your friend, but my job is to be your parent?”  As parents, we often have to make tough decisions.  Many times, our children are not happy with our decisions and their consequences.  Our job as parents is to care for our children, keep them safe and healthy, whether they like it or not.

My job as your doctor is much the same.  Yes, I’d like to be your friend; but, ultimately, I am responsible for your health and welfare and have to do what’s right.  Sometimes, you don’t like what I have to do to keep you safe.

Mr. A wants an antibiotic.  He’s absolutely positive he needs a Z pack or he’ll perish from his upper respiratory tract infection.  Mr. A has a virus/cold.  I am 98% certain that his two-day old cold is viral.  I am also aware that Mr. A is allergic to multiple antibiotics.  Prescribing an antibiotic for Mr. A borders on malpractice.  Mr. A pleads his case: “Doc, I’ve been coming here for 15 years.  You know I’m just going to get sicker if I don’t get a Z Pack.  I can’t afford to miss work.”  I’d love to be Mr. A’s hero and give him what he wants.  I can’t!  I’m his doc and have to give him the care he needs. I’m worried he will run away from home, seeking what he wants on the corner of health and happiness.  I spend an extra 10 minutes explaining why he doesn’t need an antibiotic.  He is not happy.

Mr. C has hypertension.  He does not want to take any medication.  Mr. C pleads his case: “Doc, I’m getting back into exercise and dieting.  I’ll get it under control.  Medications have side effects and cost too much!  Give me a few months to get my act together.”  Mr. C’s blood pressure is too high and has been elevated too long.  Mr. C needs to be on medication.  I spend an extra 15 minutes explaining why it is crucial to treat his high blood pressure.  He is not happy.

I’d like to be your friend.  I’d like to make you happy.  Sometimes, I can’t do both; I’m your doc and your health comes first.  As you grow older and healthier, I hope you grow to appreciate my care.

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