Before becoming a physician doorknobs did not mean much. We use them to open rooms. But as a physician we use them to leave a room. Doorknobs often make us think of entering. Entering a world or a home or somewhere you have never been before. In my job it means so much more.
I spend my days trying to listen to patients. Get a complete history. Then examine. Followed by the creation of hopefully a thoughtful assessment and plan. All of this mixed in with clicking and pointing on a computer. Then the visit ends and on to the next patient. Most times I try and complete my note before I leave the room. Until I reach for the doorknob.
As my hand firmly grips the doorknob to leave often there is one last complaint. Often it is a more worrisome complaint than anything we had discussed during the visit. Why did it wait until I was leaving? Do I now have to sit back down and start over? How far behind am I currently?
But do not worry. Either way I will get comfy again and make sure that nothing important gets missed. But please to patients of the world when doctors say “what brings you in for a visit today?” Let me have it. Do not wait until I can hear the wheezing of a patient in the next room to pull me back in.
Yet it goes differently when men have a question as I finally have my hand on the doorknob. I already know your questions. No – We do not have any Viagra samples. Yes – I will send a prescription over to your pharmacy. Maybe – Will it be covered? No – I have not had any recent patients with erections lasting longer than 4 hours.
Doorknobs are dangerous. Whether you are culturing whatever virus/bacteria live on the ones in my office or if as a physician you rush out as a final question is being asked.
The Doc is In