Teaching Doctors…with lolipops.

“Sometimes I learn more from a visit than the patient does” – from a doctor visit this summer

Often we underestimate what we’re actually capable do doing, of accomplishing.   Generally it’s because we don’t look a certain way, don’t have an influential job, or enough money to give Scrooge McDuck a run for his bin.  We spend too much time actively – or more likely passively – listening to a culture beholden to what C.S. Lewis called “chronological snobbery”: the idea that anything from the past isn’t worth listening to simply because it is past.  It’s a much nicer way of describing “shiny ball syndrome” – the disease of chasing whatever is new (not to be lumped in with the use of “shiny” from Firefly).

Therefore, it is often easy to imagine one cannot impart anything of wisdom or value to someone older, smarter, or more accomplished, right?  That’s “not entirely accurate” (to quote the SecDef from ID4).  A few days after my vehicular accident with the FENX in June, I found myself at the doctor’s office for a follow-up appointment.  It happened to be the Friday that Man of Steel released, so naturally I was wearing a Superman shirt that day.  I shouldn’t have been surprised the shirt was the first thing that the doctor noticed when he stepped into the room.  As often happens, this lead to a 15 minute conversation on the origins of Superman, Spiderman, and other comic book superheroes.  (Don’t forget that I had been hit by a car three days before and was still dealing with a pained cranium).   When we finally got around to talking about the accident, I then had to pull out my tablet and show the doctor a picture of the FENX; he didn’t really know what to do and I found myself answering the typical flurry of questions often associated with revealing it.

As I answered the physician’s questions and delved into why the FENX existed, he was kind of amazed.  He also commented – as sometimes happens – that he’d not have guessed I had cerebral palsy if I hadn’t told him or  if he hadn’t read the records (I don’t think he saw the scooter).  It was also during this visit that he assured me that I would come out of the accident situation just fine; if there had been some sort of bleeding on the brain it would have ended my life a day before I saw the doctor (there’s some “encouragement” wrapped in “real talk”).

As he left the room and I gathered my belongings to head for the metro ride home, he popped his head back inside and simply said “sometimes I learn more from patients during a visit than I teach them”.  A lollipop moment if there ever was one.

Who do you teach when you least expect it?



Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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