Posted tagged ‘the doctor gig’

Why I Play Music: Reason #4237 and Cuss Word Number 7

October 23, 2010

        Y’all might get tired of reading it, but I have no choice but to write it. It’s Saturday and I have to play. Reason #4237:  If I never see another human being in my life whose only goal in the doc biz is to be satisfied to make a half-assed, (#7) half-baked, superficial diagnosis because all they really want to accomplish is to drive around town in some overpriced hunk of sheet metal ’cause it makes them feel important for reasons this old doc can’t understand, well….I guess all I know to say is instead of wringing someone’s fool neck I play music.

        In my biz, close counts, and wrong is as good as dead if you don’t care enough to stop and rethink the diagnosis. My mind whirls all day: “Hm…..Could it be….. I wonder….dang, that doesn’t fit…..Maybe…..I’m not sure. I don’t get it all right, but by God I care.

         Now I feel better.

         Art of Sound, Shelby N.C. The old Neuse River converted school bus is all crunk up. Don’t miss it. The Harris Brothers kick it off. Reggie might be the most versatile guitarist in the world, and his brother Ryan’s soul singing moves me every time. Take a picture of the electric suitcase and send it home to Mama. 

        Darin and Brooke Aldridge, the Sweethearts of Bluegrass. A Nashville insider said Brooke was the best new female voice in bluegrass in a decade. Darin is the finest multi-instrumentalist I’ve even known. Together they are magic. They are in the top ten in the bluegrass charts now, and on the way up past that.

      Balsam Range. If Tony Rice says a man can sing, he can. Tony ain’t wrong about Buddy Melton. Strong band in every position. Great modern bluegrass.

        For Heaven’s sake, don’t sit and home and watch T.V. Come join us. The bluegrass and traditional music family will welcome you in. We ain’t crazy, just a little quirky. Check us out.

Dr. B


Rule Number Six- The Patient is the Center of the Universe (Not the Opposite)

August 21, 2009

        This post was inspired by a blog pal of mine, Ms. Cindy, who works at a Vet office.  She is new to the Vet business, but already understands it in a way some veterans never do.  She wrote “I want to help make things better.”  That’s it.  I am certain she is the kind of human being who be an employee of the month at our place, ’cause she gets it without being told.

        In the Doc world, this rule is so simple that I can not understand why anyone would have difficulty with it.  Yet, there are some that do.  Some folks are in it for money or power or prestige or I don’t know why, but they are the ones I never get along with.  I have two trusted nurses who have been with me for decades, and they are there because they want to help make things better.  They never base their decisions on anything other than what is best for the patient.

        Many years ago I had an employee who wanted us to get a ‘Corporate’ Country Club membership.  She felt we needed a marketing type person, and that her face at the club would ‘upgrade’ our public image.  As you can imagine, she didn’t last long.  I have nothing against anyone at the club, but I don’t want an image.  I want to be a Doctor, and hope folks will trust me enough to give me the honor to serve.  She was in the gig to look important, not to help make things better. 

        She sells lingerie now, and there’s nothing worn with that either, but her concept of the Doc gig just didn’t jive with mine.  As Larry Cordle would say, “I’m a little rough around the edges,” and the young lady just didn’t get what I wanted our little Doc office to be about.

        So, sorry to preach but what it is about is the patient.  One time we had an open house.  The band was scheduled to play and we were gonna have some chickens on the grill.  One of my patients asked, “Doc, is it O.K if I come?”

        “O.K.?  Lordy, George it’s your party, not mine.  If we have an open house and it ain’t for the patients we might as well all go home,  ’cause we’ve forgotten what we’re here for.”

          The image of George munching on a chicken leg and tapping his toes to bluegrass is a permanent one on my brain.  We can’t forget what we came to the party for, and must forever remember to dance with who brung us.

Dr. B

The Country Doc Rule Number Two- 16 Seconds Won’t Cut the Gig

July 15, 2009

        “Sixteen seconds won’t cut the gig.”  There’s  a song in there somewhere.

         I think it was Dr. Groopman who quoted the study.  On a routine encounter Docs let their patient talk sixteen seconds before they interrupt them, make a diagnosis, and reach for a script pad.   

          Wow.  I hope I am not that bad.  If I am, me and Julius are gonna go to the River and get baptized and rededicate ourselves to our profession.  Sixteen seconds is unacceptable.

        There is an old saying in medicine, and like many cliches it is true.  “If you let the patient talk they will tell you what is wrong with them.”   And I have found it only takes them a little while to do it.

        It is time well invested.  I have been told I have a reputation as a good diagnostician.  If I am I’m humbly grateful for that and hope to never take that blessing for granted.  Today though I must tell you this reputation is because I have good patients. 

        My standard routine is to ask the patient, “Hey Ms. Smith, what’s troubling you today?” and then let them talk until they have finished telling me.  95% of the time they have done so in five minutes.  At what it costs to go to the Doc these days, it doesn’t seem like much to ask for to me.

         Some of this works because most of my people have been seeing me for decades and I know them inside out.  What I can’t figure out has been sorted through by the best army of specialists on the East Coast this old boy could assemble.  I know which ones are reliable (and most of the Docs out there) and I count on them to help me out.  The few who proved indifferent were cast aside long ago.  I don’t give a $@^^ if they send me a country ham ever Christmas till Hades freezes over, they ain’t gonna see my people.  

        Here is a technique I recommend.  If we have anything close to a slow day, and sometimes we do mid summer, Julius and I will go into a room and I’ll issue my standard greeting.  Then I’ll sit down, prop my feet up and say,  “Look.  We’re having a good old lazy summer day, and I had a cancellation.  We got time for you to tell me anything you want.”

        The only problem is often folks are so shocked they can’t remember why they came to to the Doctor.  Then I’ll say, “That’s O.K.  Everyone has the same reaction.  It is a sign I haven’t been giving you enough time.”  Then they relax again and we get serious about the issue at hand.

         I wish I could tell you I am perfect, and do it right every time.  I don’t.  But when I fail I am sorry for it.  I remember one day when everything was going wrong.  I was rushed and distracted.  Late that morning, one fellow called me back.

        “Doc, I know you were having a bad day, but you cut me short.  I didn’t get to tell you what was wrong with me.”

          Dang it.  “Tell you what, Joe.  You come back over here at 12:30 and we’ll sit down and eat lunch together.  I’ll hear out anything you need to tell me.  We go back a long way, and if I get run over by a truck tomorrow I don’t want your last memory of me to be that I let you down.”

          He is still my patient.  In fact I am proud to say my last chart transfer other than someone moving has been a long time.  If we have someone leave, I’ll call ’em and ask why.  That what I did with the last one and  think it was three years ago.

         16 seconds.  Man, I am not sure how I am gonna be remembered, but I want it to be better than that.  I believe Julius does too, so I think I will make the 16 second rule my next lesson for him.

Dr. B