The Doctor Patient
I have had the pleasure of working with several doctors, some MDs but mostly PhDs. In the early stages of my professional career, I was intimidated by some of them and I'm sure they knew that based on how nervous I appeared to be. Lately though I have had the opportunity to work with some wonderful PhDs and they mostly played down their degree title, insisting on being called by their first name. We shared stories about places lived, where we worked and where we went to school.
There was no feeling of superiority on their part even though some of them have been more published than me and they could have insisted I call them by their correct and earned title. In fact, I was the "expert" when it came time to do therapy with them and they deferred to me when a question arose about muscle action and proper techniques.
Then I met an MD. I was hesitant at first to work with her and when I did see her I asked if she wanted to be addressed as Dr., Ms. or something else. She chose her first name. She read her own lab results as they came in and casually commented on them as if reading from a chart. She was polite, compliant and did everything we asked of her in therapy. Her goal was to get better and not worry about her status in academia or the community.
The one thing she did was inspire me to study the musculoskeletal system more. She had asked a question about the hip and spinal muscles. I admitted that I did not know the names of them after so many years in the field. She understood and said that she had forgotten medications and lab results many times in her career.
Prior to her leaving, I told her she inspired me to study more. I brought out my old book with the muscles and quickly flipped to the pages she had asked about. She smiled as she left and said, "Thank you." The two words I truly enjoy hearing after someone gets to go home.