Unintended Consequences

I love analogies, especially when they drive a point home. When counseling patients about a difficult decision, I often explain how small choices now can have a tremendous impact later. Imagine the baseball player hitting a 90 mph pitch over the left field wall. Now take that same batter with that same fastball, but this time the bat connects a mere millimeter higher with the ball. Groundout.

Some of those “small choices” include timing of treatment or seeing a doctor in the first place. Recently, I was discussing pathology results with a high-risk cancer patient following surgery. I recommended additional therapy to help ensure a cure. Here he was, feeling good with no signs of disease on x-rays or blood tests. This analogy was enough to convince him and his loved one that the additional therapy was the best course of action.

When and how we swing the bat determines whether our health ends up over the wall or in the catcher’s glove. Unfortunately in medicine, we don’t always know when the count is full.