After 30-years-plus in practice, it is not all that often that a patient’s testimony adds new perspective to my understanding of what patients go through. To tell you that I was undone by Caroline Leavitt’s guest editorial is an understatement. As someone who thrives on spending time with patients, their parents and significant others in order to learn how problems like asthma effects their lives, I felt as if I were sitting with her in my office. More importantly, I came away understanding her disease in ways that will add to my treatment from now on.
It is easy to talk of this disease in terms of pulmonary function tests, lost time at school or work, and the like, but going to the core of the problem is most important when treatment is to make a difference. I will think of Caroline Leavitt’s essay each time I look my patent or her/his parent in the examining room and ask, “How does this affect your life?”