Cool post, on its way to being a cool series:
- With time even the most timid oncologists will learn how to master the hospital routine and put a little spark in their step as they go about their rounds. There is one special place, however, that can unnerve even the most jaded practitioners - a place of unspeakable tension, where green-skinned zombies strain at the leather straps that bind them, where blood and vomit, sheets, tubes and rubber gloves amass into a tornado that sucks up nurses, doctors, even little old ladies in pink volunteer jackets into a writhing, screaming mass of chaos.
Goodness gracious - am I hallucinating? Is this a dagger which I see before me?
Of course not - I'm just describing the friendly confines of the elite suite where the injured meet - the emergency room.
I frequently find myself trying to imagine what it must seem like to the unitiated. Geez, if a physician colleague sees it like this, what must it seem like to the patients? I find myself more able to calm down, slow down, sit down and just talk and be a person when I am with my patients if I can imagine the sense of unreality they must be experiencing.
I take it for granted that I can punch in a code to open a locked door, go wherever I want, get a cup of coffee from the radio room, read the board and come and go as I please. I try to remember that it isn't like this for the patients and their families.
I have found myself, lately, explaining more than just the medical issues to these people. I now explain the procedural (read administrative) elements of their trip through the emergency center. I have always recognized my responsibility and duty to explain the medical issues, but have only relatively recently understood the need to cover these other issues.
And you know what? I enjoy myself a hell of a lot more now. These are real people, confused, hurting, and in need. What a joy to be able to meet those needs; medical, psychological and just curious.
BTW, Dr. Hildreth, the worst acronym is WADAO syndrome: Weak And Dizzy All Over!