I often write about what its like to be a patient. Well, not just often, more like all the time. Why? Because I am a patient who is a frequent flyer at the local hospital. Sometimes I know more about the hospital than its employees.
As patients we go through our medical adventures and misadventures and move on. That nasty test is over. The bad results are digested and a treatment plan comes along. We have our emotional highs and lows and we keep on going.
We hear about the potential risks and problems at each treatment. We hope for the best and sometimes cope with the worst. We develop ways to cope and move on and grow.
But what about the doctors and nurses and other medical professionals? I have never really stopped to think about them and how they cope.
First of all in their jobs, every day is like Groundhog Day. They must deliver good and bad news, administer tests and watch their patients react. They help cure and heal some patients, and are forced to watch others slip away. That must be incredibly difficult. It must represent a failure for those who took the oath to 'do no harm'.
They work hard to help their patients and then some they can't help. So what is your job? Engineer, cook, parent, soldier, butcher, baker, candlestick maker? What if what you make is a total flop? How does that make you feel? But what if its not just a flop but someone loses their life?
And what about the further burden of a patient who follows their advice to a T and still doesn't make it?
The emotional toll must be incredible. I could not imagine. And I had never ever thought about it until I read this article on a doctor who writes prose and poetry as an emotional outlet to cope. That's not that much different from being a patient.