* * Anonymous Doc

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Just went on a field trip to visit my patient in rehab. Thanks to the commenters on the previous post for encouraging it. He appreciated it, and I felt good about myself for making the effort.

You'd think there would be more opportunities for us to feel good about ourselves, since we are, in theory, helping people.

I'm being sort of glib there. Of course there are people I feel like I help, and there are moments in most days where I feel like I'm doing good. It's just more natural to dwell on the other moments, when I feel like I'm in over my head, or there's not much anyone can do. I have a patient who's terminal-- rapidly terminal-- and as much as we've tried to explain things to the family, it didn't really click until today. The specialist was using words like "treat," which the family heard as "cure," and we all knew they were clinging onto false hope, but we were trying to be so gentle in explaining what was going on that it wasn't really registering. (I happened to catch an episode of Parks and Recreation the other night where the Rashida Jones character was broken up with in such a gentle way that she didn't even realize it -- I very strongly felt the parallel to this situation.) And then today the patient got a little worse, and there was a little less we were able to say we can do, and... suddenly the family starting asking more serious questions. And it all clicked. And they fell apart. And there was very, very little we could do except answer their questions and give them as much time as we could.

1 comment:

  1. I am glad you made the trip to see him. You got as much out of it as he did. good job.