yep. It’s already the 2nd week of my 2nd posting…and it isn’t getting easier by the day. One may think Surgery’s bad enough, gosh! Wait till you come to Medicine, with its wide scope of diseases, covering every system we’ve learnt so far, and to top it, some rather vague symptoms, which don’t come very handy in clearly pinpointing the definitive diagnosis. Sigh… Guess learning comes with part of the career, doesn’t it? After all, IMU has warned us that medicine is a life-long learning process.
In the first week itself, being in charge of the acute group of beds in the wards, where most medical attention is given, I’ve witness a few deaths, even on the first day. Soon enough, one becomes so numb at it all, so much so until doctors appear to be emotionless people. Maybe it’s in the sake of professionalism, or maybe doctors need to appear strong for the family of the deceased.. but really, to portray oneself as feelingless and that the deceased was just part of a case file closed?
Y’know the more I’ve interacted and talked to patients, I’ve often got so caught up in trying to uncover the diagnosis of the patients that it sometimes feels like I’m just talking to them for the sake of knowing what’s wrong with them – it feels like such an insincere conversation. Here I am asking a patient whether he/she is eating well, whether he/she slept well, whether his/her toilet habits were okay or not… and y’know the patient probably thinks I’m asking this out of care and concern for him/her, but in the back of my mind, a series of questions are running through my head, whether the diseases was associated with this or not, could this be the root of the problem, what else could be associated with this problem,etc etc. Sigh. I am ashamed of myself. No wonder the lecturers from behavioural science kept reminding us that we’re treating the person, and not the disease. Often, we’re so caught up on being the ‘healer’, the ‘diagnoser’, the ‘detective‘, the ‘medicine dispenser’, the ‘know-it-all’, we forget that we’re also human, talking to another human.
I know I’m not the only one who acts so – many of the doctors at the hospital do not speak more than 10 sentences to their patients in the wards. Even if they do talk, it’s confined to the subject of the disease of the patient. Sure, doctors are always lacking in time, with so much to do, but surely something can be done about it? Sigh.
Enough about my ramblings, on the brighter side, my cantonese is improving! (My grandmother would be proud) lol 🙂 Whenever I come across a chinese patient, I’m rather forced to use my cantonese as much as I can, because I feel it would be terribly awkward for a chinese to talk to another chinese in malay! yikes :O lol. However, there’s a lot of room for improvement, and I need to pick up mandarin! ooohh.. and I can speak a few phrases of tamil too , with a terrible accent, of course 😉
Sure, medicine is interesting, but there’s so much more to be learnt– in both knowledge and our attitudes. We’re suppose to be the new generation of doctors who care… I wonder if it’s possible. We’ll see in some years time 😉