I delivered 6 patients today, each with her own story. All I can remember, however, are their vaginas and vulvas which I stitched, closing gaping wounds.
There is a part of me that wants to “establish rapport”, get to know them. But other duties had to take precendence.
I remember having this same impersonality when I was in training. I thought that once I got out I would be able to get rid of it. But there are times when I still see them more as work rather than as “patients” (whatever that should mean).
Does that make me a bad doctor? The culture of my workplace certainly contributes to the degree of my insufferableness. When I was younger and anxious to learn all that I could about this specialization which I chose, my whole demeanor was, 80% of the time, harried, hurried and abrupt.
Fast forward to now. The income is not commensurate with the work I do and the qualifications I have. But I stick with it because I like my coworkers, the income is steady (albeit small), and I like the feeling of doing something good (“something good” meaning delivering service to those who cannot afford to pay). 80% of the time, I can be quite nice. I am nicer to myself, for one. But there is always that part of me that is unconfident and cynical about healing others. So I look at them (my patients) with detachment.
There are times when the only way I can cope with this responsibility is by thinking of them the way I thought of that interesting rock formation I saw along the street. That is not as bad as it sounds. Looking at something (or someone) with curiosity, I would think, is better than seeing them as cash registers.