House calls are an aspect of the medical field that I thought had been buried in the history of medicine. At Siloam Family Health Center, I discovered that this practice has not been put to rest, yet. The past week, I embarked on a local house call with Dr. Henderson to visit a patient of the clinic. At first, I was really nervous because I was not sure what to expect.
I did not know the patient and was not sure if we would encounter any language barriers. I secretly hoped it was somebody who spoke Spanish because I knew I could help interpret. In part, I was just terrified that we would not be able to communicate and help the patient. I was also afraid of how the patient would react to the fact that we were invading her home.
The patient did not speak English or Spanish – she spoke Karen (a tribal language of Burma). My worries increased as we struggled to find an interpreter for the patient; however, we were able to locate someone to interpret relatively quickly. I could not help but be amazed at how great God’s timing is in both our professional and personal lives.
As we entered, the family was surprised to see a doctor walk in with three students following him. Once in the patient’s home, we were welcomed with open arms. It must have been odd for them to see strangers come into their house and sit down around the living room. I noticed that by seeing the patient in her own home we instantly bonded with her. We entered the world of the patient which opened our eyes to issues the patient faced.
Time started to matter less while the interests of the patient became our main priority. I felt like I was not a stranger anymore but a friend of the family. It was here that I began to see what it really means to care for a patient.