Medicine: What Makes a Good Patient?

The blind, overweight patient in the wheelchair has terrible pain in her back and burning pain in her legs. She also has advanced arthritis in her knees and end-stage circulatory disease, which have left her with two useless legs that are red, swollen and infected. Now her shoulder has started to hurt. She can't raise her arm to comb her hair. Five or six other things are wrong with her--she tells me about each. Some we can help; most we can't. I tell her as much.

In my office, she listens carefully. I hardly ever have to repeat myself with Doris...

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