Doc's Progress Notes
Week of October 2, 2000
Last Updated: 10/08/2000 at 6:58 PM PDT
The start of a new month means it must be fall. The weather is feeling more like it. Mornings are almost cold and the days are getting much shorter. The sun is not up until I get to the office now and it sets almost before I get home. Pretty soon it will be setting before office hours are over. Here on the West Coast it sets at 4:30 PM during the winter. That is when it is hard to run after work and it is too dark in the morning to be any better. I did not get to run today due to not getting finished at the office until too late. We did have worship team practice tonight and I am finally getting home to write this update then go to bed as I did not get much sleep last night and, being on call tomorrow night, I may not get much tomorrow night again.
Today was a usual Monday, busy trying to catch up on some things that happened over the weekend. I thought I had two patients to see in the hospital but it turned out I only had one, the other one had gone home. I did not get to see her until noon today because of the Leadership Council meeting this morning lasting until office hours began. We have more problems with physicians in the group not wanting to function as a group member by meeting their responsibilities. I continue to wonder why physicians who are accustomed to being independent join groups if they do not plan to function as a group member. As our group gets larger it seems we are having to deal with this more and more.
Anyway, my patient, who I rounded on at noon, ended up going home after I saw her but one got admitted this afternoon so I still have at least one patient to see in the hospital tomorrow. This man is in his late eighties and is getting more and more demented and it has become impossible for his wife to take care of him at home. We will be finding him a nursing home bed when he is stable enough to discharge. Right now, he has a pneumonia which precipitated his hospital admission.
We are waiting for Stephen to get back from his game. We do not know what time his bus gets back so have to wait for his telephone call. The game is being played in a town a little over two hours from here, I think. This will make for a late school night for him and I am the one who has to drag him out of bed in the morning to get him to school on time and me to work on time. His game Friday night is in Vancouver which means we only have a half hour's drive to go to it. We will probably combine that with dinner somewhere there before the game which means I need to try and get done a little early Friday afternoon. That will be a little tricky since we will be short two physicians in my office Friday. I will try. See you tomorrow.
Things are getting busier earlier this fall. We have already seen Influenza A in this community and it is almost two months earlier than normal. Our group has a very large number of patients in the hospital right now and the hospital is very full. Last night, I contributed to that large number. That means I was up most of the night admitting patients and taking care of ones already in the hospital. Today I rounded on five of my own patients which is a large number for me here. Couple that with Wednesday being my supposed day off and it means I only got about half a day off. Tomorrow I actually have at least six people to round on as well as a full office schedule. Normally, we only see this kind of numbers during winter, after Christmas when the weather is much colder. Part of the problem right now is our group is down in numbers of physicians but the number of patients has not gone down so we are scrambling some to cover everyone. One of my partners who is out due to back surgery should be back the last of this month which will help spread the work a little better. He can't get back quick enough!
I did have a strange thing happen last night. I called back a phone number that I was given by our answering service as a patient having a medical problem. A female answered and she sounded like she was in her late teens or early twenties. She asked me a medical question, which I proceeded to answer, then became very seductive in tone and started asking me personal questions and told me I was cute. I politely but firmly explained that this was not an appropriate conversation and hung up. I now find that on our called ID she has called nine times over the past three or four days, never leaving a message since we were not home at any of those times.
I have probably found my third new patient with cancer in the past two weeks. This is a 41 year old smoker who came in with some weight loss and fatigue. A chest x-ray shows a mass in his right upper lung and he will have a CT scan of his chest Friday to better characterize the mass. It could be a very localized pneumonia but that is highly doubtful. If it is a cancer, hopefully it is confined to that area and can be removed by surgery and perhaps cured. We will see. My medical assistant, Kathy, says I must have a black cloud over my head right now.
The weather here should be clear and warm during the day (low 70's) and cool at night (low 40's) for the next five days. Perfect fall conditions and the trees are begining to really turn around town. It is really spectacular here in the fall, especially around Lake Sacajawea in the center of town. I must see if I can locate some pictures of the trees here and post them here. Maybe we can take some if I can't find any. Another project in an already overcrowded schedule. See you tomorrow.
I'm back, sort of. Let's see, where to start about the last three days. Thursday night Delanae and I had a five hour discussion about "things". They ranged all the way from church to jobs. We are now more aligned about our future together, something all married couples need to do and, at least in our case, we do not do often enough. Anyway, that is how I spent Thursday night after I got home. I do not recall what happened at work Thursday other than it was extremely busy as uusual.
Friday night, Stephen's varsity team had a game in Vancouver, WA that we went down for. His school pulled out a 27-25 victory in what was a thrilling high school football game. It was so thrilling that even Delanae was cheering. It was played in a nice high school football stadium set into the side of a hill. This was that school's homecoming so their band did a great halftime program which all us visitors enjoyed tremendously. Our football team finally played the way they are capable of playing and did not make the mistakes to give the game back to the home team.
Yesterday, we burned a brush pile again which took all day. By the early evening I was feeling very tired and later that evening began running fever and aching all over. I recognized it as probably a case of influenza caught from the patients I have been seeing with it. I therefore went to bed early last night and did not touch the computer.
Today, we stayed home from church and I am slowly beginning to feel better. At least, I now feel like working on the computer a little and updating this journal. Delanae is feeling under the weather also but hers is more GI in nature. That was the result of going to a local fund-raising activity Saturday night and having some questionable pizza and wine. She and I both had a hard time sleeping last night, me due to the muscle aches, her due to her GI upset. Hopefully, both of us will feel like going back to work tomorrow. I know I need to as we are still down some physicians. Tomorrow night, Stephen has another junior varsity football game at home so we will go to that, if it is not raining too hard. Ordinarily, that would not concern me, but with my influenza I have to think about that now. Anyway, more tomorrow night, hopefully.
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