|Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons – author Alton|
Recently diagnosed with kidney stones, my 18-year-old daughter faces a lifelong hassle with these gravelly gremlins. If I could suffer this burden in her stead I would do so gladly. A nurse told me that passing a kidney stone is worse than labor and childbirth. After seeing my girl in so much pain that she was physically ill and unable to stand, I believe it.
But this post isn’t about kidney stones. It is about changes in the practice of medicine. Or maybe what we experienced was simply the luck of having a physician young enough to embrace technology and caring enough to use it.
That sounds so grand, but don’t get too excited. I’m talking about texting.
My daughter underwent surgery, and though released the next day she remained in a great deal of pain, suffered severe nausea, and was bedridden for five days. During this time her urologist worked with me to adjust her meds and find the perfect balance; no cookie cutter regimen would do.
In the past, a question for any doctor at 10 p.m. meant leaving a message with an answering service, then waiting for up to two hours for a doctor on call to respond. That was what I expected when I phoned Dr. Patel wondering how to keep my daughter hydrated when everything she ingested came back up. But there was no answering service. Dr. Patel had provided his personal cell phone number. He phoned back immediately whenever I called (I’m sure I drove him nuts). When the medical issues eased we switched to texting.
I have never before dealt with a physician who made himself so available. When I apologized for interrupting his holiday weekend he responded with the text, “No worries. I live to help people.” A few minutes later a second text came through, tongue in cheek: “Supposed to work on Labor Day,” accompanied by a smiley face.
This is not your mother’s urologist, buttercup. (Well, actually, in my daughter’s case, it is.)
Is it his age that makes him so accessible? I believe him to be around 30 or so, though his experience and credentials are impressive. Is it that, unlike older doctors, he grew up with cell phones and texting and the speedy communication afforded by today’s technology, making their use second nature? Or is it that he’s simply a fantastically dedicated physician who knows that when a mother is worried about her child nothing short of instant communication will suffice? No matter. I’m glad we navigated these unhappy waters with Dr. Patel at the helm.
What is your experience with younger physicians compared with “old school” docs? And which is your preference? Please offer your opinion, and if you have a tale to share please do.
See you next time for the naked truth about . . . ?