Personal Responsibility

While this article was written in 2011, it represents an average day in a docs life and accentuates the point made in yesterday’s article.

All right, I admit it!  I was grumpy today.  I started the day 45 minutes early; and, by the time we opened, I was 30 minutes behind.  As very sick patients came through the door, I got further and further behind.  Not one patient had a simple problem today.  Everyone needed lots of time.  The further behind I got, the grumpier I became.  I don’t like to keep patients waiting.  There is a bright side to being grumpy.  My staff lobbied my wife to take me on a short vacation.  I’m going to see my grandchildren this weekend.  I should be grumpy more often!

Today’s topic is taking responsibility for your own health.  Today’s patients wanted me to fix years of neglect.  I treated an asthmatic who was angry because her cough has not gone away after 6 weeks of office visits and multiple treatment failures.  She blames everyone and everything other than her pack a day smoking habit.  She wants to see an allergist; it must be allergy related.  She wonders if gluten in her diet might be causing her cough.  

I treated a man who complained of erectile dysfunction who blamed it on his wife and not his heavy daily intake of alcohol and food.  Did I mention he is obese, hypertensive and has diabetes?  Today, I saw a fatigued mother of four who insisted her fatigue must be something medical rather than face the fact that she smokes, never exercises and binges on caffeine and chocolate.  Today, I treated a woman for headaches and sleep problems.  She did not want to know why she had headaches and can’t sleep; she just wanted pills.  She didn’t want a diagnosis as that would mean dealing with her many reasons for depression.  She would have to take responsibility for some of her bad choices.  It was one of those days.

Taking responsibility for being grumpy, smoking, drinking or eating excessively is the first step in getting healthy.  Taking responsibility for bad choices is the first step to healing.  The second step is doing something about it.  Changing lifestyles can be hard, but it also can be very healthy.  If you are ill, have health care issues that need work or are just unhappy, look first at the obvious causes, then at everything else.  When you can’t figure it out or you can’t change, see your doctor.  Hopefully, he is not having a grumpy day!

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