Monday, June 25, 2012

Dear Patient

Dear Patient,

I want you to know that I love you.

In the almost three weeks I have spent without you, I discovered something important. You see, when I left to have my operation, I thought that I would be comfortable the rest of my life if I never saw you or took care of you again. I was that sick of being a shoulder you could cry on. I was that tired of being just another cog in the industrial medical complex.

In my experience as patient, I grew. I saw your horrors first hand. I saw bewilderment, as different people told me different things, and many did not do what they said they would do. My warm blanket never came. People did not hook me back up to the monitor. No one really cared that I was sick to my stomach or felt weak. It was like an assembly line, and I was just another product being processed through the system.

I saw the world through your eyes.

Isn't it humbling, the great equalizer of all, the hospital gown, and having to wear it?

That quiet call in my heart as I was home myself, recovering, it was for you. For all my life, my calling has to become a doctor. I jumped through many hoops to get through the training. It was my dream come true, in my heart. Being a doctor 'is not like on T.V.' my mother and I say to ourselves, It is an inside joke.

But I missed the part of me that can be there for you.

Last night, as I reflected on my first day back, at L&D, I thought about my patients. The husband, who after asking his questions on behalf of his wife, said, 'I put my trust in you'. When I got to the room, I was surprised, for she was writhing in pain and screaming with each contraction. When I left the room, she was quietly resting, with her head on the pillow and a half smile on her face. The look in your eyes of gratitude made me feel the struggle to get to be her anesthesiologist, all those years, was worthwhile.

We later went to c-section, your baby did not fit. And everything worked out for the best. Your child is beautiful and watching the birth was something I was lucky to be able to do. You do not know it but I was praying for her and you the whole time, with a thing called Reiki.

The first-time mom, with the excellent control of the pain for her contractions, got a 'set it and forget it' epidural. Inserted at eight cm dilation, she sat back with a smile, and every time I checked she gave me a big thumbs up. The entire family, from husband to grandma to auntie, were glad for the gift of taking away the terror of contractions of childbirth.

And the last, you were in the ER. A terrible spinal headache. You simply could not take the pain any more. I did a blood patch. You didn't believe me, but you knew you were there and there were no other options, so you took it. One hour later, when you sat up, the look of relief on your face, and that of your husband's, made my day. I knew the agony of post-dural puncture headache all too well. And I feel a great satisfaction when I resolve it, doing what I have been taught to do.

For you see, when I treat your pain and suffering, I treat my own.

And the world is a better place because of our interaction.

Be free and be well.


Reiki Doc