How a Doctor Fixed My ‘It’.

Elation celebrates its providers and staff as heroes and heroines.

I’m not a delicate flower.

If there were a frequent flyer program for ambulatory care I’d have reached diamond status. My mother jokes that I single-handedly put our family doctor’s kids through college because I spent most of my childhood, half of adolescence, and freshman year of college in her examining room with some ‘it’ going haywire. The generic word ‘it’ was used in our family to represent the ‘it’ that made us visit the doctor. So without me and all of my busted, broken, and bruised ‘its’, our family doctor would have nothing to do with his day.

Fast forward 3,000 miles and 30 years later, and that one-sided generalization was fundamentally changed when I shadowed a private practice in California.

There I was, at a doctor’s office on a sunny Saturday with no ‘it’ of my own, ready to hear about everyone else’s ‘it’ for an entire day. After the third patient I started to see the light, so to speak.

When our ‘it’ isn’t right, “it” itches, isn’t going away, turns red, burns, is sore, swollen, or stuffy, we call our doctor. And even when our doctor has said, “You need to take care of ‘it’ or ‘it’ is going to break down,” we often ignore the caution only to dial his number again and plant our ‘it’ in front of him again to ask him to fix ‘it’ again.

There was a waiting room full of people ‘it’ things in need of repair. And it wasn’t only the doctor the patients turned to.

We look to the front desk, office manager, medical assistants, nurses, nursing assistants, and nurse practitioners too.

I grew up admiring, and connecting with Americana through the paintings of Norman Rockwell and my grandparents’ memories. For a moment I felt a surge of that sentiment carry me from examination room 1 to examination room 2. There was a very real, authentic momentum of healing, curing and soothing that I knew was specific to private practice.

What was once an isolated, one-sided perspective about my contribution to my family doctor, I realized was exactly that. One-sided.

Simply standing in the shadow of this physician and his staff turned the light on for me. Their days are full of the weary when we’re at our most vulnerable, and in some cases, our worst.

Our relationship with these teams is more meaningful than a co-pay.

We turn to them because they heal us. They remind us that we’re not alone and help us find our way when we get off track. And that makes them more than just our healers.

They’re heroes and heroines.