Behind every doctor is a little boy or girl who once watched helplessly. Maybe it was her father or grandfather who suffered under the weight of a disease that was deemed all but incurable. Perhaps her own skin was battered and bruised by the repeated trauma of an unrelenting tourniquet. She swore that when (if) she got older she would protect the innocent from such things. Her vow was the light that guided her through arduous years of study and apprenticeship. Her promise was etched into the depths of her psyche like those two dangling letters she worked so hard to get placed uncomfortably after her name on her hospital ID.
Behind every doctor is a medical student or resident. A young man at first, his innocence was the first casualty of a mostly unexpected war. At some point, that boy saw something, felt something, which was far beyond his repertoire. The shattered remnants were collected and placed back together into a facsimile of what had been before. But the sum of the parts never quite amounted to the whole. Those who looked closely enough could see how porous his nature had become.
Behind every doctor is just a person. Haunted by the weight of her decisions. Baffled by the foibles of our legal system. And asked to trade in his most sacred skills for a degree in data entry. She is tired at the end of the day because she was on call the night before. He is a husband, father, or son and languishes under the weight of such responsibilities as would be expected.
Behind every doctor is a patient. Who suffers from time to time just as you do. Who has good and bad days; similar to yours. Who may be a son of a bitch one visit, and a prince the next. Don’t let the artificial barriers of rank and title confuse you. Don’t let the complicated jargon and technological blockade distract you.
There is so much more in common than could ever pull us apart.
The only difference is that we have always had the privilege of hearing your most pressing stories.
Maybe it’s time for you to hear ours.
I’ll start by telling you mine: I Am Your Doctor: and This Is My Humble Opinion.
Jordan Grumet is an internal medicine physician who blogs at In My Humble Opinion. Watch his talk at dotMED 2013, Caring 2.0: Social Media and the Rise Of The Empathic Physician. He is the author of I Am Your Doctor: and This Is My Humble Opinion.