Sunday, October 2, 2011

Introspection & Privilege

This weekend is a "golden weekend," so called because we have both Saturday and Sunday off. This is a golden weekend because we're now halfway between our surgery rotation here, and we're all switching hospital sites. Starting tomorrow I'll be at a different hospital for surgery. So this weekend is a temporary respite.

I'm glad that the first month is over. There are days that I was seriously doubting if I could make it to the end. On average in September, I was in the hospital about 60 hours/week. It could've been much worse . . . though I'd rather not think about it. However, a moment of retrospection brings me to my final patient on surgery at the first site.

Patient: "I admire you all and what you do. I really do. You do so much to take care of us."
Me: "Thanks. That's our job. We wouldn't be here if we didn't want to help take care of people like you. We chose this."
Patient: "Yeah, but thanks anyway. I wish you the best."

I'm not sure if I can adequately describe in words the profoundness of that brief moment. No matter how I or others may whine, bitch, and complain, it remains truly a privilege to take care of patients and do what (little) you can for them. It is a privilege to have others trust you with their health. As one of my friends said (in a jokingly serious manner): "What other profession do you get to cut people open and touch them in such ways without getting jailed? In fact, they're paying you to do just what you're doing."

Anyway, I think it's worth a moment of introspection for us to appreciate that which society allows us to do, and understand the responsibilities that society expects us to bear (justified or not).


Mind Of Mine said...

Sometimes the kind words of a stranger can validate all that hard work we have done. Making your doubts melt away

robert said...

Thanks for that post. I needed that.

naturgesetz said...

People definitely should be grateful to all physicians for choosing to take up the medical profession.

This may not be precisely on topic for this post, and maybe you already know all abut this; but I thought of you when I read it and thought you'd find it interesting if it isn't "old news" for you.

letopho said...

sometimes we just need to hear it so we are reminded why we work so hard.