Monday, October 27, 2008

i'm in a hurry

I get this reality reinforced regularly, but I think it bears mentioning. maybe it will be a gas saver or even a life saver, certainly a stress saver. There is an Alabama song called "I'm in a hurry (and don't know why)" and it came out a number of years ago. True then, it remains true today. 
I was on my way to the hospital this morning and an elderly man pulled out in front of me on a stretch of road where the speed limit is 55 and the usual speed at this area is 10 or miles per hour higher than that. He was going maybe 35 and showing no sign of increasing that turtle pace, despite the fact that the light was at least 1/2 mile away. I passed him, on the right, because he also was a left lane loser, and continued on to the light. Guess who pulled up right behind me at the red light? You guessed it. Tortoise and the hare, and despite my jackrabbity move he plodded right up to where I was waiting and we made the turns together and entered the hospital parking almost simultaneously. 
This is not even close to the first time such a thing has happened. It happens on I-35 when I pass somebody doing less than the speed limit, zip merrily on my way only to find them exiting and/or getting to the destination at the same time I do. It is not worth it to stress over who's slow and who's fast. We all get to our destinations at nearly the same time, more safely, less stressed, and maybe the 'slow' guy even gets a little lift when he sees me stuck at the light with him after I had blown his doors off with my Volvo precision racing machine (well, it is a Volvo). 
I find the same thing happening with patients in the office. The more hurried I get the more 'by the way' questions I get, and against all ethical and patient satisfaction advice, my hand is gripping the door handle throughout most of these encounters. That's a big no-no. And it always backfires. If I can go in each room with the idea that I'm there for that patient at that time and take care of their needs and answer their questions readily and ask at the end of the visit "did we cover everything you wanted to have checked?", I'm happier, they're happier, and it took no longer, and arguably less time, than it would have had I been rushed.
So, take a deep breath, go the speed limit, pay attention to the people passing you and seeming to be in a hurry, then look for them at the next stop light and smile, maybe give a thumbs up sign. Especially if you have a fish on the back of your car. God's not a fan of bad advertising. 

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