Patient Story: Bryson Greenwood

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A patient shares her experience with our own Dr. Bryson Greenwood and Carol Ripley-Moffitt. A meaningful member and former resident of our practice, Dr. Greenwood currently sees patients at a free clinic in Athens, GA, with plans to set up a private practice for low income and uninsured people in Comer, GA. Ms. Ripley-Moffitt directs the UNC Nicotine Dependence Program.

I’ve been a patient at UNC Family Medicine since I moved to Chapel Hill in early 2010. In spring of 2014, I began having very bothersome episodes of anxiety and panic. The symptoms of light-headedness, faintness, and general discomfort affected the quality of my life tremendously. I was afraid to drive for fear of fainting, nervous to shop for fear of collapsing, and even cancelled a long-planned vacation because I didn’t feel capable.

My first visit to Dr. Greenwood about these anxiety issues was in itself comforting. He listened carefully, exhibited such sympathy, and guaranteed me that we would find the answer together. When I came back two weeks later with the symptoms still present, it was clear he had researched my case and he suggested a medication. It immediately helped me, but we continued to work together over the next year to find the best balance to alleviate my symptoms and the medication side-effects.

With Dr. Greenwood’s lead, we approached solving my problem as a team. He said he was my partner and we would get through it together. I relied on Dr. Greenwood – I felt like he was in my corner.

Each time I had an appointment with Dr. Greenwood he would ask about my life-long heavy smoking habit. He never nagged me – but he never ignored it either. I remember him saying that everything looked good for me but as I moved on to the next chapter of my life smoking would be a real hindrance. I didn’t act on that advice immediately, but I never forgot it.

In mid-2014 he asked if I’d talk to Carol Ripley-Moffitt at the Smoking Cessation program. Because I liked and respected him, I agreed to speak with her on the phone. However, I was not ready to quit at the time. Though I never expected to use it, I held onto her phone number.

In mid-February 2015, I was scheduled to have fairly invasive gum surgery. Two days before the procedure, I called Carol in a panic. Surely I couldn’t smoke after this oral surgery – but I didn’t want to quit and was not ready to quit.

Carol was the perfect person for me that day. She calmly explained my options and suggested I try a nicotine replacement strategy. She didn’t ask for a promise or a commitment from me – just the opportunity to help. I have been smoke-free since February 27, 2015.

In late June 2015, I had my last doctor’s appointment with Dr. Bryson Greenwood at UNC Family Medicine. I brought a carefully-chosen card with me. It read, “Thank you – you made a difference.”