This post was one of my earlier rants on another blog, but was brought to the forefront of my brain by a fellow blogger.
Before I get into the meat of this subject, I must address a couple of things. Number one – this post is in no way pointing the finger at all members of the medical profession, by any means. Number two – does it bother anyone else that this lofty vocation is referred to as “the practice of medicine”? After countless nights and days in school and residency, surviving on no sleep and horrible vending machine coffee, should you not be proficient at what you’re doing by now? Why are you still practising? And number three – last April my mom’s GP told us to prepare ourselves for the death of my mother which she estimated would be two weeks following our discussion. It is almost a year later and my mom is alive and well, still living in her home on her own and caring for 8 pets.
It is inevitable that each of us, at one point in our lives, will interact with a doctor. It is also undeniable that during that visit to the Oracle that is “practising” medicine, we will be subjected to a fairly lengthy wait period before we enter the inner sanctum of the office to discuss our concerns regarding our bodily functions.
After the obligatory check in at reception, we are forced to spend an elongated period of time inhaling the infinite number of germs swarming the cramped air space in the waiting room. Casually we glance at our watches as the seconds turn into minutes and the minutes continue to race past our scheduled appointment time. I understand that a doctor receives compensation for each patient seen on a daily basis, but somewhere along the way a few in the selected field of saving lives have forgotten that Hippocratic Oath that they vowed to uphold. One of the lines from that oath is this “I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.”
I fear that somewhere along the path, some practitioners of this art have lost that sense of warmth and sympathy and have replaced them with a pen and prescription pad. My co-worker had scheduled an appointment with her physician. She does not attend the office on a regular basis to leave room for those more in need of medical care. She had begun asking a series of questions that she had prepared and before getting the answers she so rightly deserved she was told by her own doctor that there would be no more answers. Her time was up. Her time was up? Was she on Jeopardy? And when did the clock actually start? I would hazard a guess that it began at her scheduled appointment time that had been casually overlooked.
Somewhere in the cyclical process of patients revolving in and out of the doctor’s door, a wedge has been driven between the care provider and those in need of care. A doctor is, by definition, a healer. Whether that healing requires physical care, psychological care or simply an understanding ear, the healing starts in those medical chambers.
With their depth of study and knowledge, it is customary that we take our doctor’s opinion at face value and trust that they have used every weapon in their arsenal to determine the cause of our illness and the best possible treatment available to extend our perpetuity. As much as we should put our faith in their doctrine, we have to be the advocate for our own health and seek a second opinion, because sometimes that five minutes of examination and diagnosis may not be enough to truly gauge the underlying reason for our concern.
In my growing number of years on this earth, I have encountered many doctor’s offices and a great many trips to a hospital, not all related directly to me and my personal health and well-being, but experiences that have given me ample opportunity to form an opinion. Occasionally I feel like these experts in the medical field have put up their borders long before we attempted to enter their inner sanctum and the time required to get a proper diagnosis is cut short.
Have you experienced anything like this, or am I out in left field?