Most of my days start at 9am with surgery, which goes upto 4-6 pm, and there is the evening clinic till 8 pm. While I find surgery most relaxing, not at all stressful as you may be imagining. I am in control and focused. There is no noise or distraction. No random thoughts. I do what I enjoy doing. Each surgery is a piece of art, except that the art is hidden under the abdominal scar. The reward is patients’ recovery.
I actually find the evening clinic to be much more stressful. In the evening, more than medical issues, I have to deal with emotional issues. On each day there are husbands who are worried about their wife’s illness and vice versa.
The most difficult question is “How much time do I have ?”. There is no clear answer and even a guess can be very hazardous. I do not think anyone of us has an answer to “How much time is there for anyone of us”. But it is certainly difficult to tell a mother who invariable asks “My children are small and need me to take care of them so at least give me that much of time”. As all mothers, they would rather sacrifice anything just to giet additional time for their children. Men on the other hand, are worried about their work, their finances, how to provide for their families and why should it happen to them and what are the consequences. Invariably the question“Can I go back to work?”
Questions to which I do not have answers.
But still, patients need to be comforted.
“ Yes, things are bad but can get better.”
It is ‘Hope’ that drives the whole human existence and effort.
For a student the hope that he will score well in the exams, for a mother, hope that the children grow up well, for a young man that he will find true love and live happily. May be for someone hoping to become wealthy, someone hoping to become happy.
A cancer patient hopes for ‘cure’ or ‘control’. There is no need for luxuries of life; just LIFE.
In fact TIME is most precious gift….
A few days more to settle the home, work, finances, children and many other issues
Only thing I can give is a bit of hope, to be optimistic, to allow them to gather courage in the face of adversity.
I just say “ I am there for you, the whole medical science is for you”. “Whatever best that can be offered anywhere in the world, we would offer to you and then hope for the best”. Mostly they are comforted and go back with a feeling that ‘Yes, they can fight the disease’.
The drop-box for worries:
I started keeping a small box near the door and I generally tell them, ” Leave your worries in that box and let me take care of it”.
The least a doctor can do for a patient is to give comfort and hope. Yes, cure of disease may or may not be in our hands but certainly comforting someone in distress is an absolute must in this profession.
I feel privileged that I am able to help at least a few if not all on each day. Though it does make my heart heavy and I need to deal with this heaviness every single day and to be as normal as possible. Recharge for the next day and the days after. …
What keeps me going, week after week and year after year ??…