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Demystifying Medicine One Month at a Time

“Everything’s Fine.” [Not.]

npr_alzheimers_final_wide-1b09fc6b3928be310d8acbe0f86a53047a7b100f-s800-c85Over the years, I’ve cared for many patients that come to the doctor because a loved one has urged them to.

Asked why they are visiting, they’ll often reply “My _____ made me.”

Most often, that blank is filled with “wife,” though not always.

Click over to NPR’s Shots to read about one such patient I cared for and what I missed.

Thanks to Lucinda Schreiber for gorgeous artwork that accompanies the piece.

2 Comments

  1. My aunt had delirium and severe depression after exploratory surgery for peritonitis. Although I am grateful that overall the physicians did listen to my concerns, I remember one example where the physician was unaware of my aunt’s altered mental status. The physician came in a did a brief assessment, when leaving the room, the physician asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?” to which my aunt answered, “Give me a million dollars.” (which was something my aunt would have jokingly said normally). The physician remarked, “She’s back to her old self” and she was not back to her old self as evidenced by her bizarre behavior (biting my fingers, being very uncooperative) but no one asked about those things and simply did a superficial survey, and if you do that, then maybe everything does seem fine. It is also an example of you see what you look for…

  2. That’s why married men live longer. Wives nag them to go to the doctor.

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