Dear Patient

Some of you will simply find me in a phone book via some online directory, needing something short and specific. I’ll see you once, maybe twice, and then we will part ways. Not because anything is wrong with you or with me. But just because life will take us that way.

This isn’t really for you.

Others of you, however, may find yourselves truly being my patient.
Some of you will seek me out (I hope).
Others may stumble upon me.
But for some reason, I will become your doctor.

This is for you.Dr. Pete

I am not perfect. And you’ll learn this pretty quickly.
I don’t always wear my white coat.
I believe wholeheartedly in jean day Friday.
You might see me in scrubs in clinic—likely because I’m lacking in sleep or haven’t quite had time to catch up on laundry.
Sometimes I take notes on paper towels.

But I care. For you. For your family.
It’s what I’m trained for, yes.
But it’s also why I decided to walk through these 11+ extra years of training.
Because I care.

And because I care, I will ask you.
I will ask you if you have lost interest in things you used to love.
I will ask you if you have thought about trying to lose weight.
I will ask you if you ever feel guilty about the amount of alcohol you drink.
I will ask you if you have decided on a quit date for smoking yet.
I will ask you how you are doing since the death of your loved one, since starting your new job, and, really, in general.
Because I care.

Google search vs medical degreeYou may not always like me.
I won’t always give you the antibiotic that you thought you needed.
I won’t always agree with your Google searches and great-aunts’ remedies.
I may ask you to consider some tough life changes.
But I won’t leave you alone to make them.

I want to journey with you.
To laugh with you. To cry with you. To do this part of life with you.

So please be patient.
As I learn.
As medicine changes.
As I run late.
As administration institutes protocols that I can’t control.

Please know that I am here for you. Medical Mission Nicaragua
That we are in this together.
That I will put into your health as much of myself as you are willing to put in of yourself.
That yes, I do have expectations and challenges for you—as much as I also have an understanding that health and wholeness take time and work and trying and trying and sometimes trying again.

And know this.

More than anything, I consider it an honor to be invited into this, often difficult and very private, part of your life.

Stephanie Letney, D.O.

One response to “Dear Patient”

  1. Loved your post! You will do great because you care. I have been a nurse since 1985. Not always easy but I have always loved my job. Even on my most trying days, I would think. . . . “They paid me to do what I did today? I would do it for free if I didn’t need the money to live on!” I pray you will always be able to say the same thing. Are you in practice yet? My PCP of 30 years retired 3 years ago and I haven’t found another one that feels quite right yet. I am looking. I’m limited because I have Community Care Insurance.