Paul Satoh, MBA, PhD, had been a patient of mine since 2007; he is now 81 years old. He is not only a patient but also a friend.
Paul is an active adjunct professor of chemical engineering at Michigan State University. He retired a few years ago from his most recent full-time job as the vice president for basic and explanatory research at Neogen Corporation in Lansing, Michigan.
Paul and I decided to write his story and share it with the world. In fact, not only one story, but many stories. We would like to tell the story of his life journey from Hiroshima, Japan to Lansing, Michigan.
Paul is a very smart thinker, an avid researcher, a high intelligent scientist, a marvelously creative inventor, and an exceptional educator — all with a great sense of humor. Still, Paul never quits learning. He recently graduated from Michigan State University with a master’s degree in business administration.
When Paul was initially referred to the Michigan State University endocrinology clinic in early 2007, the reason for consultation was for management of his type 2 diabetes.
Paul politely asked if he could inquire about my medical qualifications before I began the consultation, I agreed and gave him a run-down of my medical school and postgraduate medical training history.
During my clinical evaluation of Paul on this consultation visit, I found that there was an asymmetry in air entry between the two sides of his chest. Clinicians realize that this physical exam finding suggests some problem in the lungs or respiratory passages. Paul is a very meticulous observer and asked why I was listening more and more to his back.
Paul asked impatiently, “What does this have to do with my diabetes?”
“The air entry is unequal in your chest,” I explained.
Paul asked what that meant and I explained that there may be a problem in his lungs. I asked if he had any respiratory distress or history of asthma or prior lung infections. Paul responded that he had never been told there was a problem with his lungs.
At that point into the consultation, I became concerned that this situation might have made Paul somewhat skeptical or leery of my clinical competence.
Paul then began to gradually change the tone of his conversation; he stated that he was not aware of any problems with his lungs and that he had prior imaging studies and did not recall any doctor suspecting or telling him of a lung or respiratory problem.