“Thank you very much for allowing me to see this pleasant patient,” is the concluding sentence of a report sent to one of my doctors. What interesting word usage! Somehow I had the notion that one doctor writing a report back to a referring doctor would just summarize the testing that was done and interpret the results. The addition of one little adjective makes me reflect back on that day and think, “That doctor was pretty nice, even if the tests weren’t so fun.”

I’ve read so many places that patients should keep their own copy of all their medical records, that I finally requested copies.  I’m not sure why the original in my doctor’s office isn’t sufficient, but if it’s in my best interests I can keep my own copies – of some things, anyhow.  I can’t for the life of me figure out why I should need records from 15 years ago, so just requested recent info.  It was interesting comparing the “official” progress notes against my own appointment notes.  I’m glad that I did it.  The same word turned up again: “O: NAD, pleasant female.”  Unless pleasant has become a code word meaning just the opposite, I think I like it.

And I’m wondering if adjective usage will change as more and more individuals ask to view their records. Will doctors (or their scribes) be less inclined to make note of surliness, knowing that the patient might object to the comment?  Or note it more often if it’s a patient that they wish would go elsewhere?  Will they be more inclined to use positive words if they realize that it might make a difference in how patients view them?

My reaction to this puzzles me.  I always thought that I couldn’t care less what is written in my chart, as long as the doctor can figure out what’s wrong and come up with an effective treatment plan.  But I’ve discovered that I feel more positively about the people involved in my care who noticed that I made an effort to be nice, even when I didn’t feel well.

Hooray for adjectives!


5 thoughts on “Adjectives

  1. I find this interesting that this is the first blog that I happened upon the moment I joined this site.
    When I was diagnosed many years ago….I had a similar experience.
    The doctor that referred me to my first rhuematologist (before they had any idea what my diagnosis was) got a note back from that doctor…it said:
    Thank you for giving me the privilege of caring for such an interesting and delightful patient!
    (I was 14 years old and it is uncommon for people that are as young as I was to have psoriatic arthritis…in fact I was the first juvenile psoriatic patient that this doctor had ever had, and she was only a couple of years from retirement.)
    That was almost 15 years ago now, so I do not think that the doctor added that adjective due to your requests for a copy of the records. I believe that they likely feel that you are a pleasant person (there are so many patients that are not…especially when dealing with persons with chronic pain, so I would bet that they appreciate a patient that is not grumpy, even though they are in pain)

    • I didn’t mean to imply that I’m always pleasant. My rheumy probably wondered if the new doc had me confused with someone else. I know there are no positive adjectives in the RD’s notes – maybe that’s why I especially appreciated a few ++s.

  2. The doctor most likely wants continued referrals.. and preferably pleasant patients like you :).

    I think we all have to be in charge of our own good health, not just let that job to our doctors.

  3. I work in a pharmacy,were glad when half our patients are polite.most people need someone else to blame for all there problems. Just because your dr. wrote it, does’t mean your insurance will pay for it.

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