There were 19 patients Friday. They came to see me for a variety of ailments: they dislocated their shoulder; require post-operative care following a knee replacement, rotator cuff repair, or arthroscopic knee procedure; experience low back and neck pain after a car accident; have cervical radiculopathy, spinal stenosis, chronic low back pain, balance problems and knee pain. Each of these patients, uncomfortable in some way, required my full attention.
Between ten o’clock in the morning and six o’clock in the evening, I “treated” each of them. Throughout the day, I kept track of how often I left a room, leaving the side of one patient to “care” for another. On average, I left a room more than six times, no less than four. I walked away from one patient 9 times.
This morning, I wonder: Is it more sad that I am forced to work this way, or is it worse knowing that (even after being at other clinics and physicians offices) patient’s consider my care to be the best available?