I truly do, I have nothing but respect for all of those involved in the health care profession. I don’t care if it’s the man or woman that keeps the hospital clean or the best of heart surgeons. All of these people are there to do the best that they can to provide a necessary service — that being treating you for what ever the ailment might be and returning you to good health. These are honorable people.
To achieve the title of brain surgeon, in my mind is truly an unbelievable feat. The years of study that go into this field of health care would fill volumes. The endless hours of reading and burning these words into your mind, a mind that has to remember these words, forever. These words turned into pictures of the mind for reference at a later time, some of the mind’s pictures to be used soon in the career of the young doctor . Some used, but many years later. But again, some never to be used. Still the knowledge is there — honed to a razor’s edge — just in case.
For some, in time they change . I am not saying that they change, in their service to the patient. By no means do I mean this. If anything it all gets better for the doctor and the patient . We all know “practice makes perfect“ an it does. The longer and more often you do something the better you get.
If you ever have taken the time to talk to an R.N. — it’s an eye opener. They too must study until they think, “This is all the life that I have,” and it is for several years. Endless study. The heart of these people is enormous. Truly remarkable people. That change that I was talking about has another side to it also. A bit darker of a side for some in the health care field. In defense of this side of thinking, I have to say that, in time — for a few who have to deal with people on a daily basis — they became jaded. Just as the meaning of jaded says, “tired and worn out,” the young E.R doctors and nurses are seeing more blood and death than some of our military doctors on the battle field. That is an everyday occurrence for our doctors in the inner-city hospitals. However, it is not limited to the inner-city health care professionals. It can happen in the small city hospitals that are understaffed. It’s just part of the profession, it happens.
The sad part is what this translates into for the patient in some cases. The development of a shell, of the thickest of all armor, to shield their heart from the daily pain that they see in their patients. I understand it; I don’t necessarily like it. It’s just their way of coping.
Years ago, I watched a program about a nurse who had the table turned on her. She had become deathly ill. She saw for herself , in the faces an actions of other nurses, what she had become over time. These were not the nurses that she had worked with, but nurses at another hospital. Nurses who did not know her as a human being, breathing air just as they were. All they saw was a patient, a room number. The nurse, in time, did get well and did return to her profession. This nurse that I write about turned herself — and her hospital — completely around on the way that a few had started treating their patients. The human side was seen again, a benefit for all. All should and can learn from this.
I know a man who has been very lucky in his health for the biggest part of his life. Don’t get me wrong, he has had his share of physical problems in the past, but the very distant past. Recently, he started having real bad headaches that lasted every day for months at a time. The headaches went away for about a month, came back, only to be replaced with vertigo. This vertigo is somewhat like the Tilt-A-Whirl at the state fair with a bit of roller coaster added just to make it a bit more interesting.
The doctors had tried several different medicines that didn’t work, that did nothing but add time to the misery. But this is the way medical doctors have to work. It’s not the doctors, it’s the insurance companies. You know, Corporate America trying to save a dollar and to Hell with your health. I know it’s the procedure, it’s all about being cost effective.
What came next was a hearing test, there was some loss of hearing. Then came the words “brain scan” and MRI. Oh my God, what now? That “none caring” was about to hit home. The receptionist blurted out, “You’re here to see if you have a Brain Tumor.”
“What…what the hell did you just say?” was my thought. It was bad enough hearing “brain scan.” It’s just gets better.
“We need to do blood work.”
“What for?” he asked.
The girl taking the blood had no answer. She just made him feel like he was holding up everything. You could tell she was upset with him. She called in a nurse. This just gets better. You talk about poor choice of words. The next words he hears were, “Yes, we need blood work to see if you kidneys are working.”
He responds with, “It’s not my kidneys that were here for, it’s my head.”
“I know,” she responded. “We need to see if their working properly.”
“So we can inject dye into your brain.”
“What the hell for?” he asked.
“That’s what your doctor ordered.”
He was left out of the loop on this. He was told nothing about that part of the brain scan. He had no problem with it after it was all explained. But prior to not knowing, he was scared, to begin with. The first 20 minutes of pictures he knew about. Then came 10 minutes with dye. As it turned out it was not shot directly into the brain as it sounded, it was in the IV. These two parts he understood. Then he was told, “We need more pictures.” This was a red flag in his mind.
I know they can’t tell you anything during the testing. You know, the law. I will still defend them all, this is their job. But it is also their job to look at the human side — that being our fear factor, we all have one. I love you all for what you do, in this profession.
Please, just take the time to look into your heart and the patient’s heart. Maybe by the time this gets printed, I’ll know if it’s just an empty space between my ears with no problems. Some think so.
Robert Lee is a concerned citizen and U.S. Marine veteran who owns and operates Rockingham Guns and Ammo. His column appears here each Saturday.