How the Grateful Dead Has Helped Me Become A Better Doctor

The Grateful Dead Inspires a Friendly Houston Podiatry officeI am an unapologetic fan of the Grateful Dead - a Deadhead. I saw them many times before the passing of Jerry Garcia and have seen their many reincarnations and offshoots over the years. Unfortunately, the band rarely comes close to me in Houston, TX so I have to travel to see them. Most recently I took my family to see Furthur, the latest incarnation, in San Francisco for shows over New Years and took friends and colleagues to Fairfax, VA, where I happened to have a meeting. All agree - there is nothing like the unique experience of a Grateful Dead concert. In fact, it's an experience I try to adapt to my office.

What is your typical experience at a doctor's office? I know that I often have to wait long past my appointment time and then feel rushed because the doctor is running late. Since I have been in practice, I've never wanted to be that kind of office! We schedule our days in my podiatry office based on who is coming in and for what. Our staff is warm and friendly and we're always happy you chose to visit us. Believe it or not, we will even schedule extra time with some patients who we know like to stay and schmooze! I want your time in our office to be more than a positive one - I want it to be exceptional!

The Dead are famous for each show being unique with a completely different setlist each night. In fact, in their Spring 2009 tour, they went more than the first ten shows without repeating a single song! During a show, their ability to improvise and blend one song into another is legendary. This is also something I adapt into my day.

No two patients are the same and no two conditions present exactly the same. Although I will follow a protocol for a particular issue, such as heel pain, different people will respond to different treatments and will have different results. many doctors will stick to their standards and become befuddled if it doesn't produce the expected results. It is vital to recognize when a therapy is not working for someone and redirect the focus for that patient. It is just as important to explain to a patient that just because a treatment worked for their friend, it may not be right for them.

It is easy to reconcile my love for the Grateful Dead with being a better doctor to serve my patients. Attending a show also allows me to clear my head and refocus when I return to the office. My next trip is around the corner - I'm off to San Francisco with my friend and travel buddy Wayne to see Furthur and celebrate bassist Phil Lesh's 70th birthday. No doubt I'll return refreshed with some new stories to tell.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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