2014: Year of the Family Physician (Part XXI)

The finale of “How I Met Your Mother” achieved the highest viewing audience in its nine year run.  Fans of the television series stormed social media to express their disapproval or sad reluctant acceptance of its ending.  #HIMYMFinale was a top trending hashtag immediately after the episode concluded.  People had invested nearly a decade of their lives watching a father tell his children how he met their mother.  They saw much of their own lives and loves in the five main characters and had come to care for and about them. 

The series was a worthy tribute to writer John Barth’s reflection “The story of your life is not your story; it’s your life.”  The writers constructed a narrative with a distinct voice.  The plot summary of HIMYM is that architect Ted Mosby looks for love, hangs out with friends at a bar, finds love, loses love, finds love, raises a family, loses love, and finds love.  That is Ted’s life.  But, his story is what connected to the viewers.  His story invited the audience into his life.

As family physicians, are we telling stories?  And if we are, what stories are we telling?  #2014YearFP thrives when as many family physicians are telling as many stories to as many people as possible.  We should never be pusillanimous in our stories as healers, teachers, spouses, parents, neighbors, or friends.  For if we are, how can we ever hope to be able to connect with our patients and have them be vested in a relationship for decades?  Healing tends; connecting embraces.  Imagine it is the year 2024.  Your patients are talking to their families and friends.  They recount how in 2014 their family physicians presented them with a 2014 Year of the Family Physician signboard and enlisted them in advancing healthcare by promoting family medicine.  They remember how touched they were when their family physicians took a step forward as storytellers.  Your patients proudly hold up a faded issue of Time when they named the Family Physician as the Person of the Year.  And, they tell their families and friends that they had a part in making history.  Will this happen?  It will if your stories are legend…DARY!

Author: Ronald Fong, MD, MPH

Dr. Fong's opinions are his own and do not represent UC Davis. He can be reached at ronald.fong@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu.

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