boy, he a girl. Yet my gray coat hid the mildly protuberant abdomen, while his belly bulged into his t-shirt and formed a barrier between us. He was at least a hundred pounds over weight. And I, as his physician, wasn't going to pas up the opportunity to counsel on healthy living.
Once a year, Ricky waltzed into my office for his annual. Over time, I had noticed how his height stayed the same, but his weight kept growing. He now fell into the category of morbidly obese. I breached the subject of diets. He preferred Atkins, I preferred Weight Watchers. We discussed different methods of keeping active. I suggested family walks with the little one in a stroller.
As the conversation progressed, I couldn't help but feel a dysphoric twinge in the pit of my stomach. I shifted my weight in the chair. My size thirty six pants were starting to get a little too tight. I absentmindedly wiped the edges of my mouth in order to make sure no remnants of the fast food I ate for lunch were left in plain view.
I was a hypocrite. My girth had ballooned since medical school. My eating habits were poor, and I lived a sedentary lifestyle. Why ever should Ricky listen to me? I decided to try a different angle. I cleared my throat before speaking.
You know what? I could do this better too. Why don't we work together?
We put our heads down, and a few minutes later had a plan that we could live by. Ricky would join Weight Watchers and swim three times a week, and I would cut out the fast food and walk every day. The office visit ended with a sense of camaraderie and shared mission.
My son will turn eight in October. I have no idea what came of Ricky. The last time I saw him, he had lost over seventy five pounds. His blood pressure was better, and he stopped all his diabetes medications. I lost track of him after he moved to another city.
And me? I dropped twenty pounds and now sport a comfortable size thirty two waist. I walk everyday.
Ricky taught me so much about the practice of medicine without even knowing it. I now know that to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.
More importantly, over the years I've learned one essential truth. For this doctor-patient relationship thing to work,
we have to all be in it together.