Some days, I worry that I don't have enough heart to do medicine. I worry that I don't have enough compassion for it. I worry that it will burn me out, and I'll find myself resenting my patients and wishing they'd stop bothering me. Everyone looks to the doctor for the answers, and I don't have any answers. I don't have any cures. I can't fix things. I worry.

Compassion isn't something that comes easily. It takes work to try to understand someone's point of view. It takes a lot of energy to see someone else's perspective. It is hard to show understanding in the face of something that you can't understand.

I wish that I had all the answers. I wish that it came easily. But some days, it's a lot of effort just to phone it in. Medicine is hard work. I can see why so many new students are looking to fields like radiology where you never meet your patients. Because there is something very attractive to never getting to know your patients. It would be nice not to become entangled in their lives, and sit up at night wondering if cancer got the better of Mr P, or what I can do to convince Mrs C just to eat. I am paid to care about these things, but a person can only care so much.


Open said...

What I find disheartening is that so few doctors get the care they need. I hope you never lose your compassion, the world needs more people like you. Willing to admit our shortcomings, but willing to continue on despite of them.

-Long time reader, first time poster.

CT said...

I want to be compassionate, but some patients make it very hard. For instance: a G4P3 eighteen year old, unemployed, high school dropout.

From the way you write, I'm pretty confident that you care a lot about your patients. Maybe you just need some time to miss them.


Anonymous said...

you're back!
i'm glad you care, doc. it's a heavy burden to bear... but it's people who care which keeps humanity from going down the drain..