Monday, April 7, 2008

Your own medicine


They sit in front of me day in and day out with faces that tell their own story. Some are blank, some sad, some vacant, some simply stare and some worried but rarely do I see a happy and contented face. They listen to what I say, rarely with attention, which I think I deserve. I make this out by their expression. The wandering mind has a face on which inattention is writ large. There are some who keep saying ‘hu hu or tch tch, achha achha,okay okay' when I am talking, as though to encourage me to continue talking.

These expressions of ‘encouragement’ often irritate me but I try not to get distracted. But when these are expressions, which some times I can make out are made to hide inattention and or indifference I tend to get upset and try and get them back to the subject of consultation.

When a patient is paying for my time it is his business to try and not waste it, by not listening to what I say and it is my business to try and make him to listen and understand. Both these don’t happen often. Even after so many years of experience I find this somewhat worrying. It is extremely difficult to make an uneducated elderly lady to understand the intricacies of thyroid malfunction and over and above insist hat she should take a pill every day of her life. The expression is often as though I am asking her to commit a sort of slow death! This mixed with complete incomprehension would depress any one, don’t you think?

But what took the cake was a recent incident when a patient who was explaining his problems taking his own sweet time in doing so, stopped abruptly midway and asked me, ‘ doc, are you with me so far?’. That stopped me dead on my tracks. Are the roles being reversed? Do my patients feel the same way as I do when they are looking at my mug?

These are very disturbing thoughts.


Anonymous said...

The flip side of the medical profession is that people come to doctors to get relief from pain, physical or mental. So seeing a cheerful face just cannot happen.
As an experienced patient, the first words I would like hear from a doctor after the examination is " Nothing is seriously wrong with you. Follow my instructions and you will be well soon." Even if it is a lie, it is better than the blunt truth. This will certainly elicit a smile even from a terminally ill patient.
Regarding the inattentiveness of certain patients, it could be that they do not understand the medical lingo. Many doctors do not seem to understand this and carry on and on using medical terms which are Greek and Latin to them. I am sure you do not fall into this category.

G.D. said...

It is said that when someone needs audience, a Doctor is called in!
Very true in many instances when "attention-seeking" patients come in & start the history of their complaints from 1942 onwards!![Ofcourse of no relevance to present illness!]

Anonymous said...

I have always wondered what you were thinking. I have always thought you looked at me and thought that I was one messed up kid! *laughs*
Do you judge your patients doc? :)

My thoughts said...

Most of the time when the patient is in front of me I am thinking of his problem and not about him or her. My likes and dislikes are secondary but I donot say they are not there.
Many of the messed up kids have turned up to be exceptional and the straight ones dullards!
It might be of interest to you to know that I spend more quality time with them!