symbiosis, of a sort?

Following in the path of fellow bloggers, I formed this entry. Which fact in itself illustrates my point, I suspect...

Dr. Charles recently wrote of medicine in days gone by... And as it can still be, at times, these days. His entry was written in response to one by the Anonymous Clerk.

Charles put me in mind of a conversation I had w/ my mom recently- We were talking about a world in which people, mutually respectful of one another, seek help from others whose expertise outstrips their own in some way-
I go to the plumber, knowing he can fix the pipes. He is respectful of my knowledge in other areas, and is appreciative of the fact that I have sought him out, supporting his way of life.

I feel like it should be similar with doctors.. I am a person, going to another person, seeking help through their knowledge/expertise. It should be a respectful transaction, with each party recognizing the other's intellect and individual knowledge.

Too often, in today's world, one party or the other screws this up. Patients are at times wheedling, disrespectful, cheap, dishonest, unprepared, blameful, etc. Doctors can be paternalistic, arrogant, and all the same things as the aforementioned patient. Or simply forgetful of the fact that their patient should be on equal footing with them- person to person.

Not just in medicine... As humans, I think we all too often forget that we're in this together. (this being life, politics, economics, everything!) The doctor helps Joe today, next week Joe the engineer revolutionizes medical technology.
Hell, the cleaning lady may have a lot more to offer than meets the eye.
The plumber fixes my pipes this week, and maybe next year I write a poem that makes him reconsider his world, his profession, or any number of things.

I have an appointment with my internist today, and I wish I could show him this side of things. Sadly, I'm just another dumb kid toward whom he can direct his superiority, most of the time.

But what of the way these transactions should play out? Perhaps we don't give it much thought, to our own loss.
I wonder, who might there be somewhere that feels like I do about my internist, but feels that way toward me?

Perhaps we should consider one another, and be humbled.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with you... in a kind of silly analogy it's like we're all part of a single organism, each of us specialized cells, potent yet ultimately powerless. great post.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Pk said...

The PCP I had for 4 years, before he moved away would totally agree. He always treated everybody as an equal. My current PCP does too, but with him it was different. I know very little about my current PCP ..she's been married for 2 years and wants to have kids and is having trouble getting pregnant...that's ALL I know. With the other doc, I knew lots and lots and lots. So, it felt so personal, friendly ...which, with my health issues, made it so much easier to relate to him .. and confide in him when I was scared.

One day things were going haywire with my son (the one with ACM) and I'd written a poem about him. I shared it with him, and he started to cry.
Shocked, I had no clue how to react to my male PCP crying ... I asked him if he was OK and he looked at me and suddenly he wasn't my doctor, he was my friend and fellow parent of a special needs child ...his son had been diagnosed the DAY BEFORE with developmental delay and auditory processing disorder!!!

Some would say that was totally unprofessional of him. I say it made him totally human. It made him a person. I doubt he opened up to every patient that way ... but I had something he needed ... I'd been down the road of coping with the diagnosis of developmental delays and auditory processing ...

So you're right ... I loved your post ... and the idea of your maybe writing a poem that would change things ... was right on the money!!!!

11:13 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

Very refreshing post. I couldn't agree with you more and can't help but wish there were more people who thought this way. Have you ever read "The Millionaire and the Scrublady" by William E Barton?

1:14 AM  
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7:04 PM  
Blogger Third Degree Nurse said...

We are all connected. But I don't know about the commercial just posted above this one. I'd like to acknowledge that it is in NO WAY connected to me.

Astute and refreshing post, Dr.

I am reminded that everybody I'm about to join on the medical team has an important contribution to make, from the nurse's assistant to the physicians. We each have our part to play and I hope we can fulfill our role in ways that keep communication open and work together. Kind of like harmony and melody :)

8:01 PM  

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