Sunday, July 29, 2012

Whose Burden Is It Anyway?

I mean, we're all kind of dying a little bit.  Certainly we've had our dark moments.  It's one of the hazards of the profession.  What do we expect after seeing so much pain and suffering, pain and longing?  It would be quite audacious to suppose that it doesn't affect us.  That we can waltz into the exam room and leave our personal feelings and scars behind, the idea is laughable.

We are human.  And as human beings we cope the best we can.  Some have more mature mechanisms, others not so much.  So when I enter the office on a bad day, I  may feel a little bit distant, maybe cold.  Occasionally I might be downright mean.  It's not personal.  Fresh scars are often surrounded by fleshy, more sensitive tissue.

Over the years I have been cursed, threatened with malpractice, and left waiting for patients who have never shown.  I have been mistreated in almost every imaginable way by my clients.  Most of the time, I accept this type of behavior.  When faced with fear, illness, or death, it is common to lash out at the bearer of bad news.  Part of my job is to place my patient's behavior in context and react accordingly.  Often the worst actors are the first to apologize when their situation improves.

I try to give each patient the benefit of the doubt.  Yet it pains me to see how the public reacts to physician's poor behavior.  We have been accused of being aloof, distant, and angry.  I suspect that in reality most doctors are none of these things by nature.  Like anyone faced with fear and destruction, we're in pain.

You see doctors and patients aren't that different in reality.  We all hurt on the inside.  Why do you suppose we suffer alone?

I wonder if we could share this burden.


tracy said...

Dear Dr. Jordan,
We could definealy suffer together...if i ever lost my amazing Inertnest, i would cry and suffer...the same with you.

i think you are the most thoughtful physician on the internet or anyhwere else...or mine in VA!

tracy said...

PS i have more dark moments than you can imagine. Therefore, i am more then grateful , tracy

Anonymous said...

I feel you. I dont know what has happened to medicine. Having worked in hospital for over 15 years from 1967 to 1982, Ihave been freaked out by the fear, sadness and anger from many doctors I have seen. I would NOT want your job, however, I have always gone out of my way to help a suffering soul.
Now when I need help, I am put in a box. I guess the doctors have no control. GEE, I wonder who now has the POWER? Perhaps our governmemt! I remember our doctors telling the insurance companies what needed to be done to search, diligently for the answer to the patients symptoms.
Costs are sooo high, 150k for knee replaement, with Medicare. How can we servive. The healtcare quest for "a new way" means, playing God by estmating how much fault is due to the patient. I believe if you are over 50 you are F en h Toat. Not worth carng for. God forbid if you smoke legal cigaretts and consume a LEGAL amount of alcohol, or you are too fat, your parents did not raise you right, etc.. etc. The Non medical pro has NO idea about all that is going on to enable doctors to discount the stress, pain and grieve of NOT being treated.
Not much different than the doctors. What happened. who stepped in from DC, making CHANGES, which will disable, mame and kill our fellow countrymen.
Dont just take brain washing so you will not feel guilty. You doctors know that this will cause you as much pain as your patients. And no one will be healty or happy. Research for yourself-if you are truly a healer.