On Bones and Blood

Bones seem to be the only thing in medicine that makes me squirm.

Not bones themselves, but penetrating bone.

As I was somewhat cringing watching a bone marrow aspirate today, I wondered why I could watch surgeons take out a gall bladder or appendix without even flinching, but seeing a knee replacement and bone marrow aspirate made me squeamish.

I think it is because bone seems so permanent to me and trespassing the cortical bone to delve deep into the marrow I guess cements to me how permanent and intimate some of things we do in medicine are.

We get to know patients from the inside out, sometimes quite literally if you’re a surgeon.

And, as tough as training can be (and as cynical the long hours can surely make you), I try to remind myself that this job is a privilege- we get to be the secret keepers, the guardians of good health (hopefully).

[Ok, I can’t mention secret keepers without mentioning Harry Potter and how they shouldn’t have picked Peter Pettigrew as his secret keeper…]

I guess its a good thing I didn’t go into orthopedic surgery. And, I’ll probably be singing a different tune when I’m sleep deprived in a few months. So, remind me of this post if I get too cranky, people.

Just my thoughts from today. Do with them what you will.

Now, a question for you all. While the rest of the world seems to exclusively use email for communication, I’ve never once emailed with one of my doctors. However, I’ve played a lot of phone tag.

This article from the Wall Street Journal highlights this issue: doctors and email.

Do you email with your doctor? Do you think there are liability issues that arise with emailing between physicians and patients? Would emailing be of more convenience to you? Do you worry about privacy issues with email?

Personally, I would use email with my doctor. Much more convenient than calling (and usually playing phone tag), and a bit more private than calling. Who wants to be heard saying “Is it ok to take ‘x’ if started to have profuse diarrhea or is it harmful to take in pregnancy?” when you can type it?


Until next time..




10 thoughts on “On Bones and Blood

  1. I think I would be willing to share more and be more open if I could email my doctor. Hearing myself say things out loud can be embarrassing and I may hold back. So, yes emailing would be amazing!

  2. OMG Pettigrew was the WORST choice. Why would they ever do that.

    I really like the emailing your doctor idea. I’ve never worried about privacy regarding the email, I would just appreciate the ease and convenience!

  3. I like that you’re open-minded about doctor-patient relationships – very cool! Emailing with a doctor would be awesome. My whole life channels through email in one way or another, and, depending on the circumstances, it would make it a lot easier for me to schedule appts, retain information, and share medical info with my husband/family as wished. Overall, I think it’s a good idea!

  4. I had my sports medicine physician on “speed” email for about 6 months. Poor guy. He was always so nice and responded to me. 🙂

    Now he actually emails me occasionally to see how I am doing. If I see him when I am around the clinic he always comes and talks to me. Nicest guy ever!

    Bones make me squeamish too!

  5. I would love to email with my doctor, mostly because it’s far more convenient for me, but also because it would be great to be able to reference instructions or advice a few weeks down the line. I have always been a little horrified that so much medical advice is conveyed verbally, so that patients have to rely on their memories when they get home.

  6. I do think it’s quite a privilege to be in the medical world…it’s without a second thought that I take clothes off people to wash them, place a Foley, or stick an NG tube in their nose. I know they have cancer before they do. I see that they’re probably going to die even if their family doesn’t realize it.

    I think emailing with doctors can be both good and bad…it would definitely be more helpful to email when I need a prescription refill versus calling and hoping to talk to someone. Or for quick, uncomplicated questions…but I do think a conversation is important to ask the right questions and make sure something isn’t being missed. I see how privacy could definitely be an issue, and I think texting may be crossing the line a little bit. I do wonder how this affects face to face time in the office and with patients…and billing is obviously an issue as well. Although if patients are more likely to email about anything rather than pay for a visit/copay, maybe it would lead to better health?

    So many questions.

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