Sometimes patients are a mystery.

A relatively young man comes to see me.
Problems, a bit intricate, I type a thorough
history as we talk. I make suggestions
and he is to return in a few weeks.
He receives a copy of the note and plan
spit out by the printer.

He returns. There is a pain component.
He does not bring the journal I suggested.
He seems no better. I add a little to the plan
and suggest that he return again.

And again and again. Fourth visit. No journal.
“What have you tried that I have suggested?”
He replies, “I haven’t read your notes yet.”
“You haven’t read my notes yet? In three months?
I’ll tell you what: how about you return after
you read my notes and try some
of my suggestions. Why come in if you aren’t interested
in trying anything?” I do not go to rage.
It is not my problem. It is his problem.
If he doesn’t like the plan or doesn’t want to read
(yes he can read) or doesn’t want change,
that is his choice. Don’t waste my time.

He does not return.

It is a mystery. What did he want?
Why didn’t he tell me if he wanted something else?
If it was opiates perhaps he asked around
and decided I am the wrong “provider”
since I am very careful about those provisions.

A mystery. I wonder if it could have played out
differently. Then I let it go and move on.


For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: sinecure.

6 thoughts on “Sinecure

  1. curioussteph says:

    oh those. I periodically would have conversations with patients after several visits for the same complaint and no action on their part–If you want to just talk and don’t want to change, then perhaps the medical office is not the place for you. Mostly, they just wanted to feel better sans effort on their part. I can sympathize, but that’s not how it works, as you well know.

    • drkottaway says:

      I don’t mind if it’s some counseling, but if they really need counseling, I want back up. If it’s just to check that their feelings are reasonable in an unreasonable situation, no worries.

  2. You’re a doctor. You’re supposed to fix it! ;)

    • drkottaway says:

      Yeah, hand me a wrench and some gears. Brain trade out. Motivational transplant. Engage the Gear of Caring About Self.

  3. lois says:

    This is nuts. Did he figure you wouldn’t catch on and would wind up prescribing him pills? What a puzzle.

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