Sunday, July 31, 2016

How to Renew Your Faith in Humanity

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This may be weird... I'm gonna be writing a blog post within a blog post within a blog post today. 
But yes, basically, I wrote this comment to a group of medical students on social media, after writing the bottom comment to a guy who writes this great blog on medical practice. I knew I needed to share this with you. This is directed towards medical student, doctors and anyone who cares about their welfare. So, hopefully, everyone! A popular blog post I wrote not too long ago that delves into the extreme depression that healthcare professionals go through. 

"I read this blog of a medical intern intern recently, and saw, as I always had for the past few years I'd been following him, a trend of dissatisfaction and depression. So I decided to comment this (the stuff below), and it ended up turning into pretty much a blog post of my own haha (I do this sometimes lol... it's how half my blog posts start) This may be able to help some of you out. Here I talk to a doctor... but if you can remember that all the strife we go through as students; the pressure to succeed, the threats of failing, and the constant, unending, life absorbing study - that it all goes to us being able to accomplish amazing things. That how the very hand you're using to click on things, one filled with miles of vessels, nerves and muscle/bone fibres, all coordinated perfectly to deliver the perfect amount of nutrients, energy and oxygen required to function stems from millions of years of evolution, is fascinating in its very EXISTENCE... it could make your life right now feel more worthwhile if it isn't already.
If you guys ever wanna talk btw - I'm right here. Message me here or on my blog (in case I don't see it) and I'll be more than happy to talk!
"Hey man. I've read your blogs for a while now. One thing I notice as a theme is one of depression. Of feeling overwhelmed, as if you aren't really accomplishing much from all of this. The great lie that is medicine I guess is that we will proceeed, in our lifetimes, to save hundreds of suffering people.
First off, I wanna tell you something I tell all doctors in your position.
That no matter what, you can, and ALWAYS will be able to make a huge difference to peoples' lives, no matter how insignificant this thing can make you feel.
Pain and suffering, and indeed, death, you can't alleviate all the time. But the way in which you influence someone's life in their most vulnerable, painful, hopeless moments, makes a HUGE difference to patients' lives. I know from personal experience (I'm a 2 time BMT recipient to treat my AML and suffer severe chronic GVHD because of it now). At the beginning of my journey, when I was first diagnosed, it was my doctor's words that got me to feel that I had some control in all of this. It was his actions, and the way that he practiced that inspired me even further to get into medicine. It was a letter from him to the medical board that allowed for that dream to actually happen.
But even now, with this incurable, long lasting, life threatening disease that is graft versus host, even after I developed this thought process that helped me get through the hardest parts of treatment, I find my doctor's words and interactions influence me greatly.
My care changed hands recently, as my old doctor had retired. My new ones left me disingenuous about my own health. They talked down to me, they refuted everything I said, it was almost as if they wanted to prove me wrong all the time (despite the fact that the publications on medications I'd looked up for a more recent disease I'm dealing with, bronchiolitis obliterans, they hadn't even read papers on... since then, I've been put on the medication...), and left me feeling anxious about my health, for the first time in years. The attitude I'd developed to deal with all those kind of feelings dropped away with that, perhaps because it exacerbated my depression.
Then I saw a doctor, as a second opinion, from another hospital. We talked about my health. The back and forth was glorious. Finally! Someone who was well read in his field actually explaining things to me! Finally, someone who actually cared about my sleep, stress and quality of life. Someone who treated even the little things, like my feet which were aching, rather than dismissing them in favour of "the bigger problems". That one consultation changed my outlook on everything immensely. I still know I may well die to this disease. That it could happen in years too. But I no longer worry so much, I feel better cared for, and that's spilled over to my life in general.

You can do that every single day as a doctor. In fact, I still believe, the vast majority of doctors still do. 

It won't mitigate the long hours, the fact that many patients won't be helped, or listen to your advice, nor will it eradicate this system, that, in your country in particular, often dooms the poor to poor outcomes. But it will change at least 2 lives.
The first of that patient.
The second, your own.
Because if YOU can go into work, everyday, telling yourself that you're going to be that doctor that eases the pain, suffering and misery of others, you'll not just renew your faith in your ability to cause change, but perhaps even enjoy it again.
I hope this gets to you. And I hope this helps you out."

A video I did on this;


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