Dinah, ClinkShrink, & Roy produce Shrink Rap: a blog by Psychiatrists for Psychiatrists, interested bystanders are also welcome. A place to talk; no one has to listen.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
You Know You've Been Blogging Too Long When
So here at Shrink Rap, we've been at it for a while. Since April of 2006, to be exact, and we have 839 posts now. I think that's a lot of posts.
On my post (was it today or yesterday, or what day is it, anyway?) titled What's In a Name, TigerMom commented, " From the title of the post, I thought you would address what doctors and their patients call one another."
I've written about that, right? I'm sure I have, early on, I don't know what I said, but I'm sure it's been done. If I haven't written it, well one of us has. So I searched. I finally went into our posts, all 839, and went to the oldest page. There's was a post called What's In A Name.
So I have two thoughts:
1) Oy, I reused a post title without even remembering this. If the blog isn't getting old, then maybe I am.
2) Perhaps I'm mellowing, but in the years since, I'm not sure I quite care so much what anyone calls me anymore.
To TigerMom, with regards.
Posted by Dinah on Sunday, September 21, 2008
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Dinah do not worry.
I do not remember for sure if I had read a particular novel myself or not.
I mean entire novel.
May be i did , may be i did not.
Same goes for cracking jokes.
I forget, if i cracked that joke...
I sincerely feel i do not have dementia.
Its as you said, time, its just with time, we forget.
Oh, dear. Should we call you Dr. Shrinkrap? You always post under the name "Dinah," so that's what I call you, respect for your educational achievement notwithstanding.
I call my psychiatrist Dr. B out of respect, but prefer he use my first name. Otherwise, the atmosphere feels too formal, and I'm reluctant to open up. It feels less like therapy (or med check), and more like a deposition, if that makes sense. I do not want to be called "Cat Lady," however.
On the other hand, our primary care doc actually wants to be called by her first name. I find that odd and uncomfortable. We've compromised on Dr. First Name, which is apparently the solution a lot of her patients have adopted. Still, when she calls the house, she always says, "This is First Name."
Maybe she wants to be friends? :)
Oh, and I could never call FD "Fat Doctor," even if that's what she calls herself. It just seems too demeaning. And besides, she obviously has lots of positive qualities that would be more apparent to me than her weight.
I've wanted to say that for awhile.
I call my psychiatrist Dr. Lastname but rarely in person, mostly if I leave a phone message (Hi, Dr. Lastname, this is Firstname.) He always spells my last name wrong on my monthly bills (I told him once, but not again). It's on my checks so I don't understand that. I'd prefer to be called by my first name. I'd call him Firstname if invited but he has never invited me to do so.
We have no had this discussion in the last 6+ months, but had a discussion about patients being called consumers and various other names.
Haaa I have the exact opposite. He calls himself First Name to me, but I am much more comfortable with Dr. Lastname.
After I hit send on my comment, I thought, "Oh, I should check first to see if she has already written on that topic."
Internet impulsivity trumps usually thought out actions.
"I finally went into our posts, all 839, and went to the oldest page"
Now that is true dedication.
When I refer to the shrink but not to his face , I drop the doc and just call him by his last name, which is well, somewhat weird and unusual - I guess it depersonalizes him..
And by the way Dinah, everything old is new again, which is why it's totally ok to wear legwarmers - well, at least I think it's ok to wear legwarmers.
Oh, and on a totally different topic (having nothing to do with legwarmers) - Dinah et al, did you see TPP's post at Well Blog (@ the NYT Health page) today? She was writing about therapy by phone... what are your thoughts?
Honestly, I'm against it. There's something very intimate about body language that obviously doesn't exist on the phone. telepsychiatry is obviously a different story altogther - if you can get a hook up with video and audio - but again, you lose the non-verbal cues that exist when two people are face to face with one another.
shruti: Thanks. I don't think I'm demented, sometimes a bit overwhelmed.
Anonymous: "Dinah" works just fine. If you call me "Dr. Shrinkrap" the three of us will get confused and we're already a little scattered
TP: Sadly, docs don't look at checks, they just cash them.
Tigermom: Well? Do your patients call you dr. Tiger or dr. mom?
Lola Snow: There is a link to the oldest page, it only took a minute or two.
Rach: Go for it with the legwarmers. And funny but your comment came through just when I was reading the Well piece and trying to resist all urges to either comment or write my own post. You may have undone me.
I get a combination of Dr. Mom and of Tiger. No Dr. Tigers.
I think that using first names helps someone feel more on an even keel with the doctor who is feeling uncomfortable for some reason anyway. Makes them feel a little less vulnerable to humanize the doc.
I look real young too, so I think some people feel a little parental.
I cared more when I was a newly minted doctor that people should call me Dr. Mom and not Tiger.
If someone asks me, I say, use what makes you more comfortable.
I call patients Mr. or Ms. So and so if they are of a certain age in relation to me. Otherwise I call them Firstname.
When I call someone I say, This is Dr. Mom returning your call. Unless an unknown person answers, then I just say, This is Tiger, can I speak with Firstname?
I refer to myself always as Dr. Lastname in the office, or while on business, never when outside, like in social settings. This is usually just to let people know to whom they are speaking on the phone. I refer to patients always by what they wish to be called, otherwise it is Mr. and Ms. (or Mrs.--I do a lot of geriatric work!) or Dr., Rev., etc. I often have to apologize and tell patients to please remind me to call them by their preferred first name, due to the formal default.
I encourage adult interactions from adult patients, and that's part of the logic to using adult titles.
While a patient using my first name still makes me feel a bit uncomfortable, I do love just the moniker, "doc." I have a small semi-rural practice, and that's exactly the comfort level that suggests a good rapport.
I was blasted publicly on the inpatient unit once when I was a wee resident by a family member of a patient who was very, very, angry that I did not refer to him as Doctor because, he had "worked just as hard for his degree" (PhD in psychology, thankfully not clinical!) as I had. I quickly apologized as I had no idea what his credentials were, (and then informed security to search him on all subsequent visits). Our staff psychologist wanted him banned, god bless her. That taught me not to assume any titles, nor presume that anyone knew mine, and definitely never to make a big deal about any of it.
Dinah: Omega-3, Vitamin E, and some L-Methylfolate.
Can I just comment on an odd coincidence. I was googling earlier "doctor-friend" because I was thinking about the odd duality in a relationship with a sick friend when you are a doctor and somehow I found Dr John Crippen's NHS blog and it led to the what's in a name discussion of 2006 (I think doctor as friend of patient) kind of link. And from there I linked to your discussion of 2006. And I enjoyed reading the comments, so I thought, I wonder they have written lately, and I flicked to September 2008 and the same issue is under discussion!
For the record, I've never been comfortable using my last name for anything, I don't really like it. I call patients into my room with both names and then say "Hi I'm firstname, one of the doctors here" if I'm meeting them for the first time. I still call all my older patients by their surnames, unless they ask otherwise. And the ones that really want to call me something more formal than firstname tend to call me Doc or Doctor. Which I don't have a problem with.
Dinah - write that post! Why not? It's a good topic - a relevant one at that.
i have more to say, but hours of chlorinated water of warped my brain.
What's wrong with asking the doc or the patient 'what would you prefer to be called?' That's what we do in any other setting, don't we?
Oh and with telemedicine? with the advent of videophones, surely this is something that's just begging to be done!
Oy. Maybe a few more years of med school and residency will make me want that "Dr." I'm working on, but right now I just can't see it!
As for being a patient... the therapist I see now is:
-the first one I have called by first name,
-the first one I can make eye contact with!, and
-the first one I don't lie to.
I like first names, I suppose.
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