Shifting his gaze upward to my face, he said, “I’m here, Doc, to make sure I don’t have anything serious. I’m not sure my regular doctor was listening to everything I was trying to tell him.”
I smiled. To hide my embarrassment.
I had walked into the exam room to listen to this patient; but my mind was a few steps behind, as I struggled with thoughts about the colleague who’d just snapped at me over the phone because she was in no mood to get another new consult, my mounting piles of unfinished paperwork, and the young patient with widespread cancer whom I’d seen earlier in the day. Thoughts about my new patient jumbled in the mix, too, but they came into focus only after I had pushed away the fears that I might have neglected to order a key test on my last patient, that I’d forgotten to call another patient and that I was already running behind schedule.