Sunday, March 02, 2008

Being Hands Off

Buddy got admitted again last night for intractable nausea and vomiting and pain, from the chemo and radiation-induced esophagitis. He's been a real trooper, but the nausea got the better of him the last few days. Things have been going well enough that they've proceeded with radiation, and he's into his 5th week. And thus the resultant side-effects.
As a doctor, we all get irritated by those overcrowding, breathing-down-your-neck, doctor-type family members who go as far as to almost direct care. It just gets in the way of the medical team. And when emotions are involved, you don't make objective decisions.
Well, I was one of them yesterday. When the intern came in to assess my friend, I was mentally sizing her up to see if she was competent (she was). I found out the supervising oncology fellow oncall is my ex-classmate and friend, so I paged him to talk to him. I was getting ansy at how long it seemed to take to get his IV fluids started. In short, I think I was being a prick. And I came home mad at myself for it.
It's hard to be hands-off, I reckon. Especially when it's someone you care about, especially when you're very much a Type A, and when you've been trained to take care of patients and not sit back and watch passively. It's a total role reversal, to be sitting in the corner of the room, instead of being that person examining the patient. It must have been hard enough for the intern, with 4 doctors in the room watching every one of her moves.
It's also a lesson, on several levels. One, as Kris puts it, to learn to relax and let others take care of the ones I care about. Two, to have more understanding, patience and empathy then I deal with my next over-bearing patient kin.
In the meantime, please pray for Buddy's prompt recovery and hospital discharge. And feel free to leave him messages of encouragement on his Caring Bridge site.


Post a Comment

<< Home