The Good Doctor

Ssh! I’ve got a secret. I’ve got an exceptional doctor.

The irony is that I got him by default. Around the turn of the millennium, our last doctor decided that being a mother was more important than being a physician. Before she closed her shop she transferred our records to a new local family practice. Since I did not have any other doctors in mind, I thought I would give him a chance.

I may be unusual for a man in that I prefer women doctors. I go out of my way to look for female personal physicians. Maybe I just had many mediocre male doctors. Maybe I was looking for the empathy that I found more often in female doctors. Therefore, I was a bit suspicious when I made my first appointment with Dr. K. I was ready to go hither in a heartbeat.

Instead, he turned out to be a complete surprise. First, he was younger than I was. That took some getting used to. Now at age 48, it is no big deal but in my early forties, it still felt somewhat strange. He looked like he was in his early thirties. With Dr. K., it is hard to tell. He looks sort of ageless.

I first went to him to get a physical. I was surprised that in addition to doing the usual blood, urine, blood pressure, height, weight and eye tests, that he was asking questions. How do I feel today? He was not necessarily interested in whether I felt sick. He was also concerned about my emotional state. He understood the connection between mind and body.

In addition, he has bedside manners. When he touches you, it is never brusquely, but gently and respectfully. He is funny. He is a bit quirky. Moreover, his medical knowledge strikes me as amazing. I realize that doctors have to know a lot to be certified, but he constantly astounds me. One day I came to him complaining that the blood bank would no longer take my blood. I showed him the report they sent me, and he went on to this amazingly in depth discussion about protein markers. My blood had not changed, but the FDA’s requirements had gotten more stringent. It was good to know because one test showed I had one marker for the HTLV virus did not mean I actually had this virus. Nor was it related to HIV.

With most doctors, I feel reticent to talk about things that are bothering me. This is never a problem with Dr. K. He wants to know what is bugging me. While he is not a therapist, he is very good about knowing when to refer patients to the proper kinds of therapists. He is never curt nor does he feel hurried. He listens carefully to me and explains issues in details, in ordinary words that a layman like me can understand. You should expect that from a physician. Why does it seem so unusual?

Of course, I immediately told my wife about Dr. K., and she was soon in his office too. She also was quickly gaga over him. My wife has many medical issues. Dr. K. was able to sort through all of them. Sometimes I think that without Dr. K. she might now be dead. He worked through her complex case and got her in touch with the right specialists. Yet he also persistently monitors her issues. He insists that she get fasting blood work done once a quarter, and his staff will pester her until she comes in. Wow!

The thing that really cemented my admiration for Dr. K. occurred on a Sunday morning about five years ago. We were just sitting around reading the newspaper as we usually do and the phone rang. It was Dr. K. on the other end. He had some questions for my wife. You see he was reviewing charts and noticed something. I noticed something too. No doctor had ever before called our house unexpectedly. I know physicians have to swear to uphold the Hippocratic Oath when they become a physician. This was the first time I had personally experienced someone who lived out the oath. I consider myself a professional too, but I cannot see myself spending my Sundays doing the equivalent of reviewing case files.

Today I had my physical. I do not look forward to them, but I do look forward to seeing Dr. K. again. Apparently, the plethora of Christmas cookies and other fine but fattening food my wife made helped put on some unwelcome holiday pounds. Needless to say, I was a bit depressed about going back to the eat a lot less and exercise a lot more regime. (During the holiday season, I had been doing many workouts at the Gold’s Gym as normal.) Dr. K. came to the rescue. We talked about nutrition and eating habits in some depth. He told me that for successful weight loss that a calorie reduction strategy had a much better success rate than eating the same amount and increasing the exercise. He suggested some strategies and referred me to a nutritionist.

Doubtless, in a couple days after my blood and urine are analyzed he will call me up to discuss the results. If he sees anything worrisome, I have no doubt that he will point me in the right direction.

His reputation must be growing. His practice now includes another physician, and he employs a physician assistant and a number of nurses too. He is no longer as easy to see as he used to be. For routine colds, I am more likely to see the physician assistant. However, I always ask for him by name when I make an appointment. For urgent issues he can usually work me in.

What is that? You want to know his name? I am not going to broadcast it here to the world. He does not need more patients. However, if you live in the Herndon/Reston area of Northern Virginia you can send me an email. I do not know if his practice will take your insurance. I am not even sure he is seeing new patients. If you are looking for an excellent family physician though, I have a feeling you would be hard pressed to find someone better.

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