My life as a Malaysian doctor in the United States.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
It was a mixed kinda day.
I'm oncall again, and not enjoying it too much. Rounds were busy. Patients were sick. We just sent a patient with newly diagnosed anaplastic thyroid cancer to hospice. Just imagine; 3 weeks ago he was blissfully oblivious that so soon would he be facing a death sentence. And I had a ton of clinic phone calls to return. And I had to break rounds to come see a couple of afternoon outpatient consults. So naturally, I came in to the clinic pretty frazzled, uptight and grumpy.
And then I see the note on my first patient's chart: "Patient will not see anyone but Dr. V"
Oh great, I tell myself. Sign of a demanding patient, perhaps?
Surprisingly, she was a very pleasant lady. Just out of morbid curiosity I asked her why she had asked to see me. Maybe we had met before? No, she says. It seems that two of her friends had independently recommended me to her. By name, moreover.
And the second event occurred a few minutes later when I had to call another patient telling him that because his tests were normal there was nothing I could offer him in terms of treatment. I expected him to get disappointed, or worse, pissed. After all we did just order half a dozen blood tests. But no. He thanks me. And follows that with "You are the best doctor I have ever worked with."
Not because I had all the answers. Not because I was smart. Or that I cured him of his ills. But just because I had taken the time to explain things to him, and to listen.
It's no big deal, I know. But I have to say that felt pretty good. Considering I've been working here only 2 months. My feet felt light when I left work, and walked with a bit of a bounce.
Yes, it felt pretty darn good.