Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Good Reminder

I am starting to become calloused. I realized that after finishing my ER rotation. I didn't think it would happen this soon. I'd say I'm about 60% too calloused.

I forget that we, as doctors (...future docs), provide a service. A relationship isn't a guarantee when you walk in to meet a patient. And by relationship I mean you give a little and so does the patient. It's nice when that happens and people are willing to work with you....but, ultimately, that's not a requirement of the patient. I need to remember that. Such is life.

But, today I had a heart melting experience. 

Walking out of the hospital today, I walked past an older gentleman who was also leaving. I turned to say hello, and unlike most people, he greeted me with a big, jolly," hello and how are you?" When I responded and asked how he was, he responded, "I'm great! I just had a CAT scan...It's gonna say my cancer is gone....I know it." 

Heart melted. Cancer was more than a word. It was a life, a name, and it had a favorite granddaughter who's name was also Amy. 

It's easy to walk by people in the hospital everyday and forget why they are there. Cancer has become a word on a page. Surgery has become no big deal. I forgot that it is a big deal. 

As if that wasn't enough, I also visited a patient as a friend, not a medical student. He had just had neck surgery and he also happened to be the general surgeon I spent a month with back in March. Just because we get to write all the big, fancy diagnoses down on paper every day, doesn't mean they don't happen to us. Doctors get sick. Surgeons need surgery. It was a little uncomfortable for me to be a visitor visiting a surgeon as the patient. The role reversal was a good reminder.