They made a show about the Karate Kid that takes place 30 years later. And everyone seems to love it. Everyone in my generation remembers rooting for Danny LaRusso to use his crane kick to save the day. But Why? Because humans overall are nostalgic. We love things that are familiar. We love a redemption story. As a physician I realize certain beliefs that I have now may be scientifically proved different in the future. I am accepting of realizing that more data will change my thoughts. I have changed my thoughts. Johnny is down on his luck and training a young crew of adolescents in the art of karate. Danny is wealthy and successful. Some would even say he is the bully 30 years later. I am now rooting for Johnny Lawrence in Cobra Kai.
Patients come to see me after ER and hospital visits for specific visits called transitional care management visits. They often complain about the food and communication. I take my time and review the diagnostic tests. We discuss any medication changes. Rarely after these visits do they complain about me. Why do you ask? Nostalgia. They know me. I know them. This cannot be quantified. I do not always have to be the physician making the medication change or ordering the CT scan but I will the familiar face discussing the plan.
There are new medications coming out all the time. New imaging tests have also arrived on the scene. Elastography for fatty liver and CT calcium scoring tests for coronary artery disease screening. Lots of new medications with X’s and Y’s and Z’s. Some medications have all of these letters. Like XYZAL. Yet I still reach for amoxicillin and lisinopril and ibuprofen. My favorite diagnostic tests are still EKGs and CXRs. Why? I have nostalgia. My favorite guidelines, medications and exam techniques go back to the good old days of residency.
Medicine is inspiring and ever changing. It trains your brain to have to always question and ask for more data. I love everything I learned in training but realize that I am open to new things. Coumadin was used all the time. Now DOACs are here to stay. I never checked Vitamin D. Then I checked a lot. Now I almost never check. Mild ear infections do not need antibiotics. My mind is blown. But it is ever changing. We can love nostalgia yet be open to changing our minds.
Some beliefs never die. But some of our beliefs should. I am open to change while loving the past. Even Johnny Lawrence went from saying “Strike first. Strike Fast. No Mercy” to realizing that those are only words on a wall. Cobra Kai. Never die. Keeps patients alive.
The Doc is In