I sometimes went along with my father on housecalls on Sunday mornings. He loved doing housecalls more than anything else, for they were social and sociable as well as medical, would allow him to enter a family and home, get to know everybody and their circumstances, see the whole complexion and context of a condition. Medicine, for him, was never just diagnosing a disease, but had to be seen and understood in the context of patients’ lives, the particularities of their personalities, their feelings, their reactions.
You may be wondering why I’m typing this on my kitchen blog…be patient.
At other times, if the patient was very ill, or contagious, I would sit with the family in their kitchen or dining room. After my father had seen the patient upstairs, he would come down, wash his hands carefully, and make for the kitchen. He loved to eat, and he knew the contents of the refrigerators in all his patients’ houses—and the families seemed to enjoy giving the good doctor food. Seeing patients, meeting families, enjoying himself, eating, were all inseparable in the medicine he practiced.
from Uncle Tungsten
by Oliver Sacks