I was reviewing my long time patient’s preventative health data and realized that he had not gone to get his colonoscopy when he turned fifty as I had recommended.
He admitted that he had ducked this unpleasant diagnostic test. Knowing that we were the same age, he asked me if I had gotten mine yet.
Sheepishly, I had to admit that I had done the same, providing multiple excuses in this patient’s clever reversal of roles.
He challenged me. “I will get mine if you get yours.”
I accepted the challenge.
It is amazing how quickly a year flies by when you are working sixty hours a week, with a family and extended family issues.
My patient returned for his annual follow up, beaming, colonoscopy pictures in his hand.
Caught with no where to run, I stood in the light of shame! I excused myself from the room, went to my staff and directed them to make me an appointment for MY colonscopy. Before the physical was over, a note slipped through the door with my appointment time scratched on it.
Clearly my patient thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to gloat — and continued the razing for years to come.
As always, my patients make the best teachers.
He taught me that the primary thing to do in primary care is to practice what you preach!