Sunday, June 12, 2011

Didn't mean for that to happen!

I've been following a 54 y/o male for many years. He has the "usual" assortment of diagnoses frequently encountered in the primary care setting. He also smokes 1-2 packs a day.

I had previously tried many different approaches to get him to quit smoking.

No idea why on this particular day, a routine follow-up appointment, I decided to ask, "are your wife and other family members prepared to meet your needs after you've had a heart attack or a stroke due to your smoking?"

He smiled, then laughed and said "yes they are...good try doc."

I'm pretty sure I then smiled as well.

He wasn't ready to quit.

We spent some time talking about the trip he was about to make up north to see other family members.

Unfortunately, I received a phone call message about a week later. He was still away on vacation.

"Tell Doc he was right. I had a heart attack and a stroke and am still in the hospital. My heart is OK but I don't have a lot of movement on my left side."

I've seen him since.

He's quit smoking. He still has left sided weakness. His family is helping to meet his needs.

I'm still a little freaked out about the whole thing.

Weird as it may seem, however, I think the patient thinks I'm smarter than I actually am, just because I was able to predict his future.

It hasn't changed my desire to get folks to quit smoking, just the phraseology I use with other patients.

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