The family practice where I’m learning still provides home visits (pretty awesome, yeah?), and I get to make a few on my own each week. Right now, I’m following two patients regularly–one suffering from a disease of the mind, the other of the body. Not surprisingly, the priorities of these visits are different.
During one, I find myself answering, every two minutes or so, “Where are you from?” ”Where in Virginia?” ”How many children do you have?” I’m there to engage him, to change up the screen, though he won’t remember me after I’ve left.
The other, I’m checking for sites of infection, monitoring his airway, assessing level of pain and comfort and, as happened in minute one of my first visit, being the periodic target of projectile sputum via tracheostomy tube.