Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Coming to Our Senses

I am reading the new Jon Kabat-Zinn book, Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness. It is such a wonderful book, about being in the moment -- listening and attending and really being aware of our senses, the world, others, and ourselves -- and how this can be healing, for patients, and for health care providers, to practice. I just love it.

And it really came in handy Monday, a crazy clinic day where I was asked to see 27 patients in 6 hours. I tried to just let go of the "schedule," and the time pressure, and tried to just be with each person, one at a time, without interrupting or pushing my agenda, for as long as it took. So difficult, but so easy, if you can do it.

Here is a list of the patients (though these little capsule presentations really don't do justice to the whole person; DM = diabetes, HTN = hypertension, URI = upper respiratory infection, CVA = stroke, PTSD = Post Traumatic Stress. If language is mentioned, that visit was interpretted.):

1) child with dog bite, attacked in a local park by a pit-bull
2) child with dog bite (sibling of above)
3) new patient, woman with low back pain
4) new patient, 3 yo sick child, new in foster care, maternal substance abuse
5) new patient, with BP 180/120, edema, cellulitis of leg, txf’ing care here
6) 12 yo girl with dysmenorrhea
7) 35 yo woman, pregnant with URI, jaw pain (mother of above patient)
8) 3 yo Somali sick child, URI
9) 1 yo with UTI and pneumonia, followup ER visit
10) 4 yo sick child sibling of above child
11) 7 yo sick child, URI, vomitting
12) 67 yo Cambodian woman with DM, HTN, Chol
13) 52 yo Cambodian male DM, for flu shot (here with above patient; added as a walk-in)
14) 55 yo Cambodian female DM, HTN, Asthma
15) 39 yo Cambodian female, PTSD, Depression, thyroid dz, for Annual Exam
16) 50 yo female asthma, HTN, knee pain
17) 50 yo female f/u hosp severe asthma, O2, on steroid burst, having side effects
18) 53 yo Vietnamese male, HTN, CVA with hemiparesis, follow-up
19) 50 yo Chinese male, HTN out of control, new dx of auto-immune disease
20) 3 yo Vietnamese girl URI
21) 77 yo Cambodian female, HTN, PTSD, social stress re housing issues
22) 14 yo girl with pneumonia on CXR, followup ER visit
23) 60 yo Vietnamese female, somatization, valvular heart disease, DM, with URI sxs, needing pro-time done
24) 4 yo Vietnamese male with rash
25) 11 yo Cambodian male Developmental Delay, eardrum perf, with hearing loss
26) 54 yo female L&I forms, heartburn, stress
27) 36 yo new patient with Crohn's disease, flare-up, needing meds, referral

My oh my. I am tired just writing this!
Time to go to poetry group . . . .


barbara jane said...

wow, patient load and language-wise, you sound like you work in my clinic in oakland chinatown. i guess i had little idea seattle had a significant seasian population. i'm not a doctor but a clinic operations administrator (and a poet). i am very, very interested in how all of this works its way into your poetry. peace, barbara jane

Peter said...

Hi Barbara Jane:
Thanks for the hello. Yes, Seattle has a huge SE Asian population. I see mostly Cambodian and Vietnamese. Such kind, gentle, beautiful people. I love to work with them. I am interracial myself (Portuguese-Chinese-Irish), and many of them refer to me (for some reason: the hair? the eyes?) as "the Chinese doctor!"
Many of my poems arise from my practice; several from my work with SE Asian refugees with PTSD. Also there are some about working with the SE Asian youth, who are caught "in between" two cultures.
I'll check out your blog and say hi there, too.

32poems said...

Wow, I am in awe. I wish there were more doctors like you. So often, I feel pushed out of the office. No doubt doctors must feel pressure to see as many patients as possible due to health insurance issues.