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An Editor’s Invitation: Endings and Beginnings

Dear Pulse readers,
A colleague who is leaving our practice for California asked me today if I would be willing to assume the care of one of his patients–someone who asked him specifically if I could become her new doctor.
I warily perused her chart and counted forty-one medical problems, from the trivial to the life-threatening, anxiety prominent among them. She seemed a busy bee of a patient, with eleven appointments scheduled for this coming month alone. She’s keeping a lot of doctors hopping, I thought. And soon enough, I’ll be one of them.

While my colleague was saying good-bye to this person, I would soon be saying hello. Endings and beginnings. And I know from experience that her chart tells me little about the person I will meet. She could be an inconsolable bundle of nerves. She could be warm and absolutely delightful.
She and I will each buckle our seatbelts for our journey together and see what it brings us–assuming it gets started at all. It’s entirely possible that she comes in for an urgent-care visit tomorrow–for a rash or a stiff neck–receives great care from yet another colleague and decides to kick Dr. Gross to the curb.
December’s More Voices theme is Endings and Beginnings, a particularly appropriate theme for the last month of the year, for the end of a Presidential administration and for the glimmer of hope that COVID-19, which has consumed our lives for the better part of 2020, may actually start to recede in 2021.
The story of health care is the story of endings and beginnings: deaths and births, illnesses and recoveries, an end of one way of living and the start of another.
What healthcare-related endings and beginnings have you experienced lately or are you looking forward to? Send a story of your lived experience to More Voices. You can look at last month’s theme, Choosing, to see what others have shared.
For more details, visit More Voices FAQs–or go directly to the More Voices Submission Form. Remember, your healthcare-related story should be 40-400 words. And no poetry, please.
Paul Gross


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