It’s been a busy week. I like being busy at work. There is nothing worse than having too much time in the work day to do things other than work. When I’m at the office, I want to be dealing with patients (whether it be in person or on the phone), lab results, office management/administration. In that order, actually. I function better when my mind is occupied with tasks at hand. When it’s a slow day at the office, my mind wanders, I spend more time at the computer (read: Internet) and I get bored. Bored Dr. Mom = grumpy Dr. Mom.
This week was steady. There wasn’t much in the way of difficult medicine, it was a typical family medicine week. I saw a lot of children with coughs and colds; I gave a fair number of routine childhood vaccinations, not to mention a good number of flu shots; there were a few female physicals and some STI checks. Oh, and there was a young man who told me he feels he’s a heterosexual woman, not a gay man.
I learned early in my training that maintaining a neutral facial expression when interviewing a patient is really, really, important. It’s never a good thing to look at your patient like this:
My training came in handy that day.
I could tell that this young man had something on his mind. When I asked him about any medications he was taking, he told me he was taking an estrogen stimulant from a health food store. It was also pretty obvious that it took a tremendous amount of courage for him to reveal that little piece of information to me. The visit went extremely well – and I’m not just saying that. We had a good discussion about his expectations and what he needed from me. At the end of the visit he thanked me for “being so awesome about everything”. All I did was to listen with no judgement and offer some advice. He needs support as he explores his gender identity issues. Thankfully, the city we live in has resources for individuals like him.
To think that he worried I would judge him, or refuse to help him says a lot. Our society still looks at these individuals with disdain and I’m not sure that’s ever going to change, sadly. I make it a point to not judge my patients, or at the very least, not to convey any judgement to them in the office. It is reassuring to me that he felt comfortable at the end of our encounter. It means he’s going to come back. In family medicine, you always want your patient to come back. Well, almost always. 😉