Thoughts, Stories, and Bits of Wisdom
After I finish my little walk down memory lane, I’ll explain why I picked this particular title. If you are like me, shall we say of a certain age, you’ll remember sitting in front of the TV on a Saturday morning and watching a couple of hours of cartoons or being able to see the “Bugs Bunny and Road Runner Hour” on a Saturday afternoon. Even into my 20’s I looked forward to that hour of sitting back and laughing at the antics of Bugs, Sylvester, the Road Runner, Wile E Coyote, Elmer Fudd and probably my favourite of them all, Yosemite Sam. “Whoa mule whoa!” You should look up this cartoon. It’s one of the best.
Bugs’ line of, “Ehh, what’s up Doc?”, was usually delivered to an unsuspecting Elmer in such a way that it was sarcastic and funny at the same time.
Going to the movies was fun. You knew the program; shorts, coming attractions, a cartoon, and then the feature attraction. When the cartoon started,whether you were six or sixty, you knew you were in for a few laughs . If you didn’t laugh, you must have some serious issues going on.
Now that I’ve waxed nostalgic, let’s talk about that phrase “Ehh, what’s up Doc?”
I’m wondering if or when you last asked your Doctor how he/she was doing? “How are you?” “How are the kids?” “I heard you’ve been on vacation, how was the trip?”
I believe we have a tendency to forget that our doctors are also people like us who have the same ills, mental health issues, family crises, and life altering events we do. We go into the examining room, await their arrival, tell them our ills, get their diagnosis and head out the door. Sometimes, or maybe all the time, we forget to say “Thank you.”
Perhaps I’ve been fortunate but I’ve always had a good relationship with my family doctors. We’ve never gone out for lunch, been invited to each others home, or even shared a coffee, but I still got to know them.
I don’t say, “What’s up Doc?” but I do ask how they are doing. It’s amazing what this simple question can elicit. I’ve been told how proud they are of their children, if they are going away, what new information they may have gleaned at a seminar, the fact that a family member may have been quite ill (I try to remember to ask how that person is on my next visit), or in one case, my doctor used me as his “Father Confessor”.
In the last case, I’d been going to him for over 15 years. His wife was the nurse/receptionist. I often saw her at the gym we both attended. She would be in the aerobics class and I’d be in the weight room. I noticed her visits to the gym became less and less frequent. When I went for one of my appointments, he had a new receptionist/nurse. I knew him well and when I saw him that day, I knew something was wrong. So I simply asked, “Are you OK?” His eyes filled with tears and he told me his wife had left him for the aerobics instructor.
My doctor had waited a long time to get married. He was in his forties, he wanted the right life mate, he wanted children, and he wanted to have few debts so he could provide well for his family. His dream of a life mate was shattered. He told me simply because I asked if he was OK.
I know doctors are supposed to have a detached persona. It’s a coping mechanism to help deal with what they handle on a daily basis. There are some doctors in certain specialties who have taken this detachment to the extreme and if I may be so bold as to say, come across with the personality of a wharf rat. Asking them how they’re doing may be risky but hey, nothing ventured nothing gained.
I follow a few doctors on WordPress and if you read their blogs regularly, you will find they are just like us. This past weekend, Dr. Attai, a breast surgeon, (http://drattai.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/pain-and-light-remembering-a-friend/) eloquently posts about her grief in losing a dear friend and colleague. Her pain is palpable.
Dr. John McHugh, a urologist, blogs about his personal journey on dealing with prostate cancer. He spares no punches on how it affected him. (http://theprostatedecision.wordpress.com/)
Dr. Greg Smith, a psychiatrist, talks about dealing with his patients, lessons he learns from them and his colleagues and makes it clear that he is affected by what happens around him. (http://gregsmithmd.com/)
These three physicians, in three separate and disparate fields, bring a sense of humanity to who they really are.
So in closing, the next time you see your family doctor or a doctor you have come to know, say “Ehh, what’s up doc?” You might even get an answer and a “Thank you for asking.”
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