Even patients with whom I have the best rapport would probably rather not see me so often.
Sometimes I readmit a patient I cared for just weeks before in the hospital. “Nice to see you again,” I offer with a smile. The usual response, loosely paraphrased: I’d rather be anywhere else.
This reflects not some deep deficiency in my bedside manner (I think), but rather an essential truth about medicine: People want health, not health care. And those who require the most health care and get the least health — high-need, high-cost patients with multiple or severe medical conditions — feel this most acutely.