Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sick Day

I took my first sick day in a year on Friday; came down with a bad cold and a fever of 39°C. And I felt guilty doing it, because I knew my patients had waited a while for the appointment. And I knew some would be unhappy doing it.
Which gets me thinking about that phrase I've read before.
Doctors save lives by giving up theirs.
Maybe a bit presumptious one might say, but there are certainly days when it feels to be true.
One expects so much from their doctors; that they are never sick, that they are never wrong, and that they have all the answers and cures to their ails. And should they ever fall sick, there should be a backup doctor who can see them, right? Right.
Seems that there are more and more days when I really feel that every single day at work shortens my life a little bit. Rushing between patients, trying to 'work in' the 200 consultation requests we are getting every week. Trying to see the 'very urgent' ones referring physicians are asking for (urgent is a relative term. I'd consider severe hyperthyroidism, uncontrolled diabetes to qualify. Certainly not hypogonadism or weight gain or fatigue. But, we try to please our docs). Seeing patients over my lunch hour most days of my week, resulting in my having H20 for lunch- what I shall soon patent as a new diet program (haven't seen any weight loss yet though). Having to battle insurors for approvals for medications, glucose test strips, diagnostic imaging or blood tests.
While feeling like we've sacrificed so much- family members we don't get to see much anymore. Lost friends. Missing out on kids' activities. Sleep. Student loans. For me, there are days when I feel like the worst son in the world because I can't physically be there for my parents.
And having read the survey results of US doctors, also nicely put in this kevinmd article, I'm certainly not the only one feeling the stress.
Its safe to assume that this job really is going to kill me someday.
And yet, we persist. Despite the knowledge that our job shouldn't be everything. After all, ALL doctors have cared for dying patients, and we've all heard it: "my biggest regret is working too much and not spending enough time with my family".
We all find our reasons. For some, monetary- after all most new graduates have over $100,000 in loans, or the never ending bills for running a family. For others, the smile or handshake of a grateful patient, or the knowledge that this patient will get better. Or the naive and idealistic thinking that our goal in life is to help others.
Whatever our reasons, for me, my cures for a stressful day are the giggles and hugs of my daughters and wife, and a cold beer. And thankfully, that treatment works everytime and I haven't yet built up a tolerance.

1 Comments:

Blogger iml said...

Take care.

2:48 AM  

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