Returning to the PCBH world after a week of PTO is always an exciting, yet frightening experience. As my mind predicts others have experienced, my mind always worries after a week off of clinical work, “will I still be able to do this?” “Do I still got what it takes?”
And, then, all that doubt and uncertainty is washed away as soon as I step back into the medical pods, as MAs and nurses say, “we missed you!!! So glad you are back,” to a pediatrician yelling for me down the hall way as he proudly informed me of an email detailing how the state of Washington is supporting PCBH by workforce development initiatives and increasing Medicaid reimbursement for BH visits by 15%, to an MA, after brilliantly interpreting for me in a visit, saying, “you know, I just always say to myself, just be like the BHCs!”
Then, to the patients, that included a variety of handoffs, follow-ups, new patients, and ones that I have seen for a few years. Trauma, weight-loss, stress, DM, all of the above. And, the last visit of the day ending with a patient that the PCP and I have been working with for a number of years who appears to be finally ready to pass on after years of dealing with cancer. The patient’s voice sounded weak on the phone and for the first time they let on that they were worried about not being present for their child’s approaching graduation. Tears and heartache filled the spirit and when I went to consult with the medical provider that was running behind, which allowed me to call the patient to save the PCP some time, tears became present for the provider, as well. We both, along with the MA, held our experience together, knowing the pain the family was feeling, as well as our own pain of losing a patient that had been so truly inspiring and resilient.
My mind laughs now at what it was saying at the beginning of the clinic, “will I still be able to do this?” Even through the pain and busyness of the clinic, PCBH allows us to do what we strive to do and to do with a team. Reaching and walking with patients during some of the most difficult times and doing it together; of course we are able to still do this, as this is being human with each other. My gratitude to you all and for being able to share these stories!