Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Me and hospitals

I don't like hospitals. I really really don't like them. This is ironic, considering the field I'm about to enter, and its even more ironic considering that I am becoming more and more comfortable in the white coat and in hospitals. But here's the thing. Most people in hospitals are pretty sick, very vulnerable, sometimes sad, sometimes barely here. Which is of course why they need the extra care and help, but which can also be very hard to see everyday, all the time.

There's this weird thing that happens in medicine, especially in teaching centers. To learn to restore health as best as we can, we must become very intimate with sickness and sick people. So much that we can sometimes lose sight of the person within the body as we focus on their body and their disease. And really, healing is not entirely in our control- we're simply vessels- if you will, of the Master Healer. And yet, it can be easy to lose sight of the family and social interactions and everything that makes the patient unique. At the same time, a health care worker, no matter what stage, cant get so wrapped up in each patient that they lose their objectivity and their own sanity.

So what's a girl to do? Some doctors are very good at keeping the whole person in perspective and some specialties lend themselves to broader look at different layers of complexity. I guess this might be one of the things that makes the difference between an adequate, good or great doctor. How you make your patients feel and if you can somehow identify with them as fellow travelers in this walk of life, without losing pieces of your heart or worse yet, breaking your heart with every encounter.

This is why I'm still a student. This needs to be worked out in my head. In the mean time, I still don't like hospitals all that much.

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