Watching Growth, In Patients As In Trees

November 23, 2010

Being a family physician is much like planting trees, hoping you’ll see them mature one day. So much of what I do is for some type of future gain for my patients.

I spent the weekend visiting my best friend on her 20-acre property. She and her husband plan to pass the property down to their children. Needless to say, they are investing a lot of time, energy, and money into their home.

While I was visiting, she was planning some baby persimmon trees measuring about four feet high. I could see them in my mind’s eye someday as larger, mature trees offering both shade and sweet fruit. Fortunately, I plan to see those mature trees in person one day, perhaps during a visit a decade or two in the future.

Being a family physician is like planting those trees, hoping you’ll see them mature one day. So much of what I do is for some type of future gain for my patients.

“Get the flu shot so you stay out of the hospital this winter,” I advise a patient with COPD.

“It’s really important to take this ace-inhibitor,” I tell my patient with newly diagnosed diabetes, “so that your kidneys stay healthy.”

I think my investment is more personally important because just like my friend’s fruit trees, I plan to see the end result.