Saturday, September 09, 2006

Carts passing in the night

I got called in last night to do an emergency echocardiogram. On the way down to the ER with echo machine, i got on the elevator with a gentleman from the food services department with a cart of late night snacks for patients -- as in one AM late night.

i struck up a conversation.

"We're both pushing carts at this hour...I didn't realize turkey sandwiches were in such demand this late at night."

"Yeah man, you wouldn't believe what people order at this hour... cottage cheese and pears... Trouble is, the nurses put in the order late, and half the time, the patient's asleep by the time they get their food," came the reply.

"Sounds like you and I are in the same line of work, this late at night," I said.

"No man, you guys are miracle workers man... The stuff you do is amazing."

"That's not quite true. People think we're always one step ahead, but actually, we're usually two steps behind... Just like you and that cottage cheese."

That resonated, and he chuckled knowingly. As the elevator door opened and I started pushing at the echo machine, he said, "treating but not curing, huh doc?"

The doors closed and I was left with that thought. We can cure some stuff, but in cardiology, we mostly treat and patients are left on medications for life. Wouldn't it be nice if we could get a jump on things like coronary artery disease and keep it from happening in the first place?

14 Comments:

Blogger HappyHeartPatient said...

Education, education, education! Now if only the patients would listen. Seems like a lot of the patient education needs to start with the PCPs, or perhaps before that, in the schools. I do think that is improving; the AHA seems to be doing a better job of trying to educate the public, of course, more government funding of this type of education would be helpful too. But in the end, the patients need to listen and take care of their health before they start having problems...a difficult lesson to learn.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Carpus said...

You say: "We can cure some stuff ..."

Sometimes I wonder. Besides some infectious things how many diseases to we really 'cure'? It's the same with 'saving lives'. Do we really save lives? Don't we just delay death?

7:07 PM  
Blogger BetterCell said...

It is patients (people) who are not willing to make the necessary Lifestyle changes that will go a long way in Preventing Coronary Disease and Type 2 Diabetes. Here in NYC, I see many overweight people who will not walk the extra block to the subway, but will ride the bus instead. Another example is of someone very obese and has a cigarette in his/her left hand with a diet coke in his/her right.......what absurdity!!. It is my feeling, that people (most of them) are not willing to take responsibility for their own bodies/health and want the magic "fix"..taking a pill/seeing a "Doctor".

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Vijay said...

No posts for some time now. You must have been busy.
You can have some fun now.

You're tagged

2:59 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Hope all is well with you! I miss reading your posts.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Stephen Ostrowski said...

Kannan, this is The Ox weighing in.... your blog is kind of gay but cool at the same time. Great to hear you are doing so well, I am still stuck in my PhD, hope to go back to med school next July. Havn't really kept in touch with too many Fiji's except for Rhuberg and Garth who both live in Boston now.

Was actually in Chicago recently for a big Indian wedding of one of my friends from med school, really miss it.

Email me at smo9@po.cwru.edu if you want.

12:03 AM  
Anonymous difficultpt said...

did you give up blogging? :o(

8:14 PM  
Blogger Dr. A said...

Just stopped by to say hello. Hope you come back soon!

9:49 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

Dr. M, you need to enable comment verification on this blog, otherwise you will get comment-spam for the rest of eternity!

Anyhoo, I came across your blog on my bi-annual Christmas nostalgia trip. Good to hear that you're doing well.

And I will be adding you to my blogroll.

Talk to you soon!

Lori (Griffin) Haggenmiller

3:05 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

OK, I'm back.

I realized after I posted my last comment that, in my exuberance to have found you in the blogosphere, I misused the word "biannual." I wouldn't have been able to sleep tonight unless I returned to set it right.

So mea culpa.

I meant my "every other year" Christmas nostalgia...or something like that.

Tootles!

3:16 PM  
Blogger Monica Paulina said...

Kannan - I ran across your blog after reading Lori's and seeing a link to yours! Just wanted to drop a line a say hello! Good to hear you are doing well, not that I had any doubts. Keep in touch -

Monica Paulina (O'hara Class of 95 co-grad)

3:10 PM  
Blogger delobbo said...

That is a very compelling question.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the possibility of pulling out of Iraq, letting Iran invade and lose resources fighting their own kind,
and then come in and mop up the dregs?

7:00 AM  
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