Monday, October 17, 2005

Social history

There are certain questions that I have not once asked any of my health care providers. These questions include:

1) Are you married or single?
2) Do you have any kids?
2a) Why not?

My patients, however, ask me these questions with astonishing frequency. I'm talking daily to multiple times daily. On Friday, I'm quite certain that a record was set. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that fully 40-50% of my patients asked one or more of the previous questions. One older gent went on to ask, "What kind of men do you like: Mexican or American?"

He then offered this little bit of dating advice. "You know what you should do?" he said. "Go to dances." This is the same exact advice that my grandmother gives me, wistfully thinking back to the WW2 era dances, one of which she attended and met my grandfather. I told him what I tell her: I don't like dancing. Why would I want to meet someone who does? I'm sure that I can find many ways to disappoint the man of my dreams and I don't need to add fuel to the fire with the ole "I like to dance" bait & switch routine. I like to read. I like to sit on my couch, drink French Roast, and read. I meet a disappointing number of hot, smart, funny guys (n=0) conducting this activity.

So, yes, my patients frequently ask me about my personal life. And, going against what my professors might counsel, I answer them - mostly. I don't tell them that I don't think I want kids because my sense it that is akin to telling them that tortillas aren't breakfast food for me, or that I have no interest in soccer (or any other sport except mine for that matter). I think it's appropriate to share to the extent we are comfortable with our patients. Part of why I am an NP is to remove barriers to patient care. I hope that my being a person and not just a fucking hot-ass girl in a white coat will facilitate that. I want to build relationships with my patients in an effort to keep them healthy and to keep them satisfied with the care they receive at our clinic.

Plus, it's like having a nice Jewish family, meddling in my personal life, right here in the midst of my Latino patient population. L'chaim!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

L'chaim, LC, L'chaim...