Day 1292: Seeing patients

Whenever I take a trip into the hospital, I am struck by all the different ways that people see you, especially when you’re a patient.

Often, people start by seeing you as your diagnosis.  Personally, I find that a little annoying, because there’s so much more to me than

I’m more than just heart and lungs, I considered saying to some people during this hospital stay. However, it was difficult for me to say that, because

  • I’m pretty polite and
  • I was sometimes hooked up to oxygen masks where I could not speak, at all.

Beginning with my many childhood hospital experiences, I’ve noticed that patients  can elicit a kind of non-seeing response in others. For some people, it’s like we’re invisible.

I see many reasons for that non-seeing response:

  • People are afraid of illness.
  • People are afraid of mortality.
  • People are very focused on seeing themselves.

It’s important to me that you see that I’m not claiming that everybody who sees me in the hospital doesn’t really see me. Every time I’m a patient,  I am also seen by many truly  caring professionals.

Speaking of truly caring professionals,  Dr. Mark Estes — my cardiologist who’s been seen on this blog before (including here and here) — was surprised to see that I was in the hospital yesterday. I loved seeing him walk into my hospital room yesterday morning, trailed by medical students.

Here’s how Dr. Estes saw me yesterday, in his own words:

  1. “The most famous and important patient in this hospital.”
  2. “Intimidating.”
  3. “Able to challenge and stand up to a  world-famously difficult and powerful cardiologist.”
  4. “Never looking better.”

I have to say I found #2 and #4 surprising, since

  • I never see myself as intimidating and
  • I was sitting in a hospital bed with pneumonia AND heart failure at the time, so I HAVE to believe I’ve looked better.

After Dr. Estes saw me for a helpful discussion of the details of my latest hospital stay, he turned to his medical students and asked them, “What’s the lesson to be learned here?” And here’s how he answered his own question:

Always listen to the patient.

Can you see why I love being seen by Dr. Mark Estes?

Here are some things I saw through my iPhone yesterday:

















What music would you expect to see in this post?


Now, I hope to see some comments from my patient readers.

Thanks to all for coming by to see me today!



Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 36 Comments

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36 thoughts on “Day 1292: Seeing patients

  1. Love this post, song, doctor and you Ann! ❤
    Diana xo

  2. Hi Ann, I see you are, or were, in the hospital as a patient again. I’m so sorry, but it’s the best place to be sometimes, and that’s probably why you’re there. I see they let you use your phone in the hospital, which used to be taboo for patients and their visitors. I see I’m out of the loop again, after finding that my new Pennsylvania clinical practice is taking off like gangbusters, whatever they are! So my time reading blogs now, or doing the Times crossword puzzle for that matter, is greatly limited. Mostly because I drive to work rather than take the subway. Love you Ann, and sending healing, clarifying thoughts your way. ❤ Sunny

  3. There’s no place like home. I see you and hear you!

  4. Your strength and courage are always inspiring but today’s music gave that inspiration an outlet. I’m sure The Who would be pleased to take part in your fame.

    “Cardiac Wizard”

    Ever since she was a young girl
    She’s had a super heart,
    In the Mayo or the Mass Gen
    She’s worked the doctors hard.
    They ain’t seen nothing like her,
    Even the super-smart.
    The famous Ann Koplow
    Has one amazing heart.

    She’s intimidating,
    Stands up to their degrees,
    And never looking better
    She makes the interns freeze.
    The doctors check their notes,
    The nurses play their part,
    The famous Ann Koplow
    Has one amazing heart.

    She’s a famous patient
    And most important too,
    With her as their guide
    The doctors know what to do.
    The famous Ann Koplow
    Has one amazing heart.

    How do you think she does it?
    Doctors learn
    The key is listen.

    Ain’t stopped by any setbacks,
    Keeps blogging every day,
    Has a happy outlook
    And so much good to say.

    The doctors’ work is state of the art
    But they take their cues from the amazing heart.

    • I see that you’ve blown me away again with your commenting wizardry, Chris. I wish you could see the thrilled expression on my face. ❤

  5. It’s very cool that you have people writing poems to you. I hope heart and lungs are better soon and the comfort plan is fully executed!

  6. Even as a patient, you are a teacher.

  7. tmezpoetry

    A doc that listens! He is a gem 🙂 More well wishes and nurturing recovery~

  8. Stay well enough for September

  9. Ann, I see a beautiful and gracious lady, with so much passion and feeling for others it humbles me. I can only hope you are healing well. With your strength and determination, I have no doubt that you will!
    Sending you much love, Millie. ❤

  10. Glad you’re back in your own abode. Is that plate of food something from the hospital? Oh, and by the way, a certain someone won the Golden Unicorn.

  11. So glad you are back home Ann! Its been quite a ride. Thank you for sharing some great photos along the way!
    Stay well dear ex patient 💛

  12. well I am glad to see you are Ann, not patient Ann any longer. Oh, I believe you may misconstrue my use of the word patient. That is not to say that even though you may have lacked patience while being a patient when it came to sorting out what was wrong, hence your Dr thinking you could be intimidating, which is not a word I would ever associate with you, your patience paid off in getting you home when you were ready. (and I was taught rule #1 as a pastoral care volunteer was always to see the patient as a person, not define them by their illness.)

    • I am sure that every patient you’ve encountered has felt healed by your presence, Lisa. I should know! ❤

    • Aha! You probably think Dr. Estes was referring to himself. He was referring to very difficult doctor at a different hospital, who is now retired. If you have the patience or the time, click out the link imbedded in #3 and you will see! In any case, love your visits here!

  13. Excellent “comfort plan,” and I do hope you can go home very soon! Your doctor sounds like another part of an in-hospital comfort plan!

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