- Personality type: I'm the type of doctor who sees every patient as another person or human, like a member of my own family (yes, some patients you don't like a lot, but the same is true in your family - Uncle Cletus the tow-truck driver who always wears overalls, smells like the local 7-11 outside trashcan, and always smacks you on the hind end and tries to pinch your chest every time you see him at the annual family reunion is a great example). Patients have great stories from their lives from which you can laugh and learn, and I hope to share some of those stories here.
- Practice style: Because I listen to my patients stories (ranging from about how much they like a certain type of oatmeal to stories of war from 50 years ago), I tend to move a little slower, listen a little longer, and spend more time with my patients. Thus, I have become somewhat of an inigma in the medical community. I am relatively young, yet have a fairly large geriatric practice, since I will sit and listen and they have no where else to go or no one else to talk to about their bowels or their fatigue (you wouldn't believe how common this topic of conversation comes up in a day. I don't understand how a conversation about bowel movements could take 15 minutes, but it commonly does, multiple times a day). Also, I'm a huge believer in preventive medicine and the fact that 80% of health comes from a healthy weight, adequate rest, diet, and exercise, not pills.
- Scope of practice: My practice in rural America is not limited to the office nor to certain ages. I help parents bring infants into this world, care for all ages, and provide comfort to those going to the grave. I practice in an office, a hospital, nursing homes and in people's private homes. My schedule is not limited by the clock or by distance from home. My patients can find me anywhere, and its not uncommon to give medical advice (including information on the best medicine for yeast infections) in the isles at the local grocery store or at lunch with my family at McDonald's.
- Personal preferences: I am not the typical doctor in style or dress, at home or in the office. At work, I typically wear pants and a shirt, no tie (they are notorious for carrying more bacteria than poo), no white coat (do you know what all those sleeves touch in a day?), no suit jacket. I don't drive a BMW or Lexus. Not a Cadillac. Nope, I drive a 11 year-old pickup truck, and I am hoping to possibly acquire a mini-truck to drive back and forth to work. At home and in the community, I can often be seen wearing a grubby t-shirt, shorts with holes in them, and a sweat-stained ball cap (they don't have a antiperspirant for your head - yet. Patent Pending). I am often confused for a young man who works for an auto shop or a lawn maintenance company due to my dirtiness from work at home, which in all honesty, is a disguise so I don't get stopped as often to be asked which laxative is the best for Johnny who hasn't poo'd in 6 days. I utilize the grease gun in my garage quite frequently, getting dirtied up just to go to the store.
- My free time: In my own time, I enjoy getting down and dirty (keep it clean, kids). I do work on my own home, from glazing windows to digging trenches for new electrical and sewer lines for my home. I love to work outdoors, and the destructiveness of weed-eating lets me take out my frustrations at something pretty benign. I am a masochist when it comes to exercise, always pushing the limits of my middle-aged body (yeah, I'll never have that six-pack back from age 16, I just don't want to admit it yet). Nintendo rocks, and my kids would tell you that I get a little greedy with their games.
- My wife: Finally, I would say I have an unconventional wife. She isn't your typical woman, as evidenced by her reflexive laugh that occurs when people are hurt or injured. She doesn't care what others think of her, she is solid in who she is as a person, she doesn't volunteer for groups and activities just to be seen and noticed. She's not afraid to go to the store in her grubbies and without make-up. She's willing to spank our kids in public if necessary. She's incredibly tough, yet sweet as chocolate. You can learn more about her at http://www.theunconventionaldoctorswife.blogspot.com/.
So I could go on about why I feel I'm an unconventional doctor, but the boredom had begun and it is time to bring it to an end. I will let you make your own judgement based on what you read. I hope you enjoy future posts that promise the lack of lamity found in this one. Adios.