Sunday, January 22, 2012

I have made a few direct and indirect references to matters of a more personal nature. Some of it has been full-blown kvetching, and others have attempted to be more introspective and honest assessments. It's not as though one person is completely awful, because that is not the case. What seems to have happened is two people who want and/or need different things somehow became intertwined with each other. The disentanglement has provided some unpleasant moments, and to be completely honest the jury's still out on what the final outcome will be. 

I would ordinarily keep something like that to myself, but a friend made a comment that "wow, so doctors have real people problems, too," and that got me thinking (that's the smoke you smell). So whoever might read this will know, yes, medical students and doctors have real people problems. In fact, we are more likely to have relationships issues than our non-medical counterparts. Of the hundreds of people in my starting class, I think I can count on one hand, maybe two, the number of people who are in a relationship with the same person they began medical school with. Furthermore, most of them are married. My problem is not unique, and I have actually seen medical students try to out-do each other with regards to relationship downfalls--we are a competitive bunch after all. It's a subject easily approached and nearly everyone has a story. But a great many people see us as a different species. 

I think it is so easy to overlook the fact that doctors are human beings. Professionally, we are expected to function at a superhuman level. We aren't allowed to make mistakes, and if you do you are certainly going to hear about it. We aren't allowed to be human, and I understand why. Unfortunately though, the unintended consequence is we lose much of our humanity across the board, where in some cases humanity might be helpful for the doctor-patient relationship. I think it's just easier to forget that you're a human being sometimes in order to simply do your job properly and in the ultimate best interests of your patients (ie their health). The first week of medical school we did an exercise where we were instructed to rate what characteristics were most important for doctors to have. We were given a list and instructed to rate them. All of them were important and my group didn't really think any of them was less important than another, but that was the task. Most of us put "Friendliness" toward the end of the list. Granted there is some selection bias as we were all medical students, but many of us reasoned that a less-than-amiable doctor can still treat you well as long as he/or she knows their stuff. Obviously we would all prefer Ms. or Mr. Congeniality for our physicians, but the reality is that we can all probably point to doctors who have done their task to perfection, but are complete jerks.

Anyway, back to my sad story, the song below I think summarizes the situation quite well. I think it worth while to point out that the song applies to both parties equally. I couldn't find a youtube link to let whoever wants to hear the song, I guess I could load it myself...but that's a copyright issue I'd prefer not to tango with. It's definitely a song worth a listen. Patty Loveless can wrench your heart out with one note.

"Nobody Here by That Name" -- Patty Loveless

I can tell by lookin' at the shadows across the wall
Without pickin' up, who it is, who decided to call
It's late and you're all tore down
You woke up darlin' and found
You ran another one off and you want somebody to blame
But there's nobody here by that name

While you carry on about another who broke your heart
Well, I remember the night you tore my world apart
Everything I could want was mine
I'd love you till the end of time
Well, that was then and now ain't it a shame
How there's nobody here by that name

You want somebody to help you, somebody to tell you
To play along as long as you will play
Looking for one more fool who will never mind the rules of the game

But there's nobody here, no, there's nobody here
No, there's nobody here by that name 

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