It's sometimes hard to deal with difficult people. And though sometimes the rational side of your brain tells you it's not you but them, admittedly I'm guilty of taking things personally.
Today was one of those days, and truth be told, I'm still reeling from that verbally abusive patient I saw on what started out to be a nice Monday morning.
Even before I went him, I heard him yelling at my nurse. And then when you have someone accuse you of being a bad physician, in part because you refused to prescribe antidepressants (when you were consulted to assist in his diabetes management), and accuses you of being rude to the pharmacist (I'm not even sure where this came from), and blames the high cost of healthcare on doctors like you who make him get his other nondiabetic prescriptions from his GP (hence giving him two co-pays), and so generously throws out F-bombs at you as he accuses you of intentionally making his diabetes worse so that you have an excuse to put him on insulin, it's hard to even give a response to any of that.
I tried to explain my stand on things and tried to make my case, but in situations like this, there was no way he was going to listen.
We both agreed I should never be his doctor again and offered to have a colleague see him from now on.
But deep down, I catch myself wondering, how could our doctor-patient relationship has gone so wrong? For the rest of the day, I caught myself in doubt, of both as skills as a physician, and as a person.
For, as unreasonable as the accusations may be, if someone yells at you loud enough, you can't help but take it personally.
It's on days like these, that you almost wished professionalism and ethics would let you confide in the other patients you see. The patient who have been coming back for years, and with whom you get along, and who seem to trust you. You almost wish you could ask your patients, "How am I doing? Am I treating you well as your physician? Am I taking good care of you?"
But no. We aren't allowed to do that, are we?
And so, you grin and bear it. Life goes on.