Much of what we do in medicine is elementary. I wouldn’t know how to quantify the amount of plainness involved with our goings-on. Behind the writing of controlled substances on pricey government controlled paper, behind our, “Hmm’s”, our flow of learning and teaching, and more (or less) than the laying on of professional hands, we are… we are common.
To say it simply, physicians are dealing with themselves. In medical practice, separating the self out, effectively breaking the emulsion of the physician from their personal journey leaves many of us suspiciously grouped into the numbers of old and lonely but practically excellent. Some medical specialties are infrequently bested by anything other than 80+ hour work-weeks, knowledge retention and steady hands. The imminent peril and the literal moment by moment of life-saving interventions helps the rest of us understand.
Even so, I’ve known some who have been “the best” and still managed to be connected to their personal. I imagine some other dimension is forced open by all the space that that kind of nearly fictional human occupies: Cardiothoracic surgeon, Anees J Razzouk, M.D., at Loma Linda University, for one; Gisella Sandy, M.D., critical care specialist, general surgeon and medical missionary in Peru, for another. We are all happy to say that the list is long here. We think of the ordinary physicians planted around our planet who are heroic enough to do the simple. After all, how much can a physician offer to her patient if she hasn’t taken care of herself first?
Those of us who seek medical care from a physician will be interested to know that the physician as well as the patient can only carry so much before things start to fall out of their arms. Before a sack tears on our way from the car to the kitchen, before there is spillage and things go unnoticed, we want to know that they thought about it. We want for them what they want for their patients in other words. Accountability to Me.
Wanting this for others, because we are afraid, is understandable. But it’s not at the aorta where life pumps and freedom flows. Each of us, regardless of fancy prescription pad or paper gown, to trust the other, we must have their own wanting. Wanting this for themselves. For Me. That is the pulse on trusting each other.
Questions: How has being a better friend to yourself improved your trust in those who are serving you? How has being a better friend to yourself improved your ability to trust those you hope to serve? Please tell us your story.
Self-Care Tip – Follow the thoughts that bring you back to Me where you will healthily grow your accountability, wanting and trust. Be a friend to yourself
- Can Long-Term Physician-Patient Relationships Be Bad For Your Health? (healthecommunications.wordpress.com)
- Our Patient-Doctor Relationship Improved by Self-Care and Back At You! Posted on May 18, 2011
- What Makes A Doctor-Patient Relationship? Posted on September 9, 2011
- Reworking Choices With Your Physician as Part of Your Team. Posted on June 28, 2011
- Physician’s mindfulness skills can improve care for patient and provider (eurekalert.org)
- Empathy In Health (workinhealth.wordpress.com)
- Why the physician shortage is worse than you think (kevinmd.com)
Was able to have frank discussion with cardiologist re carcinogens in stuff they shoot you up with for picture taking tests. I suppose he saw I was knowledgeable enough not to be dismissive but we agreed it is a trade off manage coronary artery disease vs cancer risk. Seems a lot of treatment is a trade off. That honesty builds my trust in him, Internet research really empowers patient to be a participant in health care management.
I agree with Carl that honesty and communication are a big help. And considering that stress and anxiety feed into the rate of recovery, medics should invest more into talking and listening to patients. I know some who do and it makes such a big difference.
“considering that stress and anxiety feed into the rate of recovery, medics should invest more into talking and listening to patients” – words to ponder and share. thank u. keep talking.
“a lot of treatment is a trade off.” this is an empowering statement even though it might at first seem otherwise. it keeps patient and physician accountable to a degree to their choices. thank u carl.
To be perfectly honest, when I was NOT a friend to myself, I trusted anyone and everyone in the medical profession because, for one thing, I was too sick to care, and for another thing, I didn’t know enough (or care about myself enough) to know who to trust or not trust. Now that I am a friend to myself, I know what to look for in a caregiver, I think I know what to ask, and I know I know what I want – or at least hope for – from the professional with whom I have chosen to work.
As far as what I have learned as a friend to myself when I am giving care to others, I know, for sure, that I need to love myself first – and I’ve found that I actually DO!!…well, most of the time, anyway. 🙂 but also, because, to one or extent or another, I’ve “been there, done that”, I have some sense of what they might want or need and an even better sense of how they might feel.
I can’t think of a thing wrong with being a friend to myself, whether I am being cared for or caring for others. It’s a win-win thing and, yeah, I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I’m SO grateful!!
makes sense. i didn’t take it to that level and it’s helpful that u did – “when I was NOT a friend to myself, I trusted anyone.” u have yourself as your advocate.
the “win-win thing” takes us even further along. thank u nance. hugs
I had a nurse the other day tell me how caring my psychiatrist is, which is true, but cynical me replied, “She’s relatively young for a psychiatrist, come back in ten years.”
I had a psychiatrist in his 60s once and he didn’t care as long as I was breathing.
no one can ever b all that we hope. we r the same that way. call it cynical but don’t forget, “normal” if u think it might help u be friendlier to u :). keep on
Thank you for your focus on this important topic. Too often healthcare providers are so busy taking care of others that they forget to take care of themselves. It’s so important to take care of yourself. It’s the only way to truly be able to help others.
Failing to be a friend to ourselves prevents the introspection that is necessary for personal AND professional growth. It isn’t easy though. It’s so important to stay in touch with our inner voice; to remember who we are and what we want.
This excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essary, Self-Reliance has always been inspirational to me in this regard:
“These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs. Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.”
I greatly enjoy your blog!
cheryl!!!!! thank you. i describe my reaction to your kindness in this comment and what i find behind this comment as a breathing, a space that becomes more identifiably mine around me, as less inner tension and more interest. keep talking.