Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Why I Believe Doctors Still Care
I've been thinking a lot about doctors and other people in the medical field. Many doctors are stereotyped as money-loving, drug-pushing, pompous individuals with a big house on the hill. Society gets bugged at them if they act like they know everything, and yet criticizes and sues them if they make mistakes. I wish people would understand that many doctors out there really do care. This is why I believe they do:
My husband is a doctor. He's a family physician. I don't talk a lot about what he does on this blog. But today I am. I'm not doing this because I want to brag about my husband. I'm doing this because I think he's a regular guy that cares for people. And I believe many doctors are just like him.
We have known many doctors on our medical journey who have given up much to be a caretaker of the sick. And even though they are glorified and scandalized on television (like ER, Grey's Anatomy, General Hospital, and even The Doctors) most doctors are just regular people. Regular people who wanted to help make a difference.
My husband wanted to be doctor when he was young. He was a farm boy though, and so it seemed like a faraway idea sometimes. But he was gifted with the constant desire to try new things and an uncanny ability to remember information. But his desire to be a doctor solidified when he served a 2 year mission for his church in Guatemala when he was 19 years old. While serving there he was in a serious bicycle accident. A head-on collision. His face was severely fractured. Since he was in a 3rd world country, the medical care he received was an eye-opening experience. Sometimes all they had was Ibruprofen for the severe pain. He was lucky enough to be able to fly to the U.S. within a few days to have maxillofacial surgery, but he never forgot the people who didn't get that chance.
I've watched my husband from Day One of his medical career. I've seen how it's changed him. I watched my husband work 2 low-paying jobs while he tried to get into medical school and gain some experience. When he did get in, I watched him take out student loans to provide for our growing family of 3 children--it was his first loan. Even our cars had always been paid for with hard-earned cash. I watched him begin to study daily at 6:00 a.m. and not finish until 9:00 p.m.--and still he would say, "there is more to learn." I watched the hurt on his face when our 3rd baby (born during medical school) thought of him as a stranger because he had to be gone so much during his residency.
And even now that he's got a few years of experience behind him, I watch as the emotions of his job weigh heavy on his heart. Like many doctors, he often goes to bed at night worrying about his patients. We've had sick children brought to our door. We've had people stitched at our dining room table. We've had phone calls in the middle of the night. We even help with emergencies on our vacations. He can't drive by an accident on the road without wondering if he should stop and help. His job reaches far beyond his office doors. He has to be ready. He has to decide within a few moments what needs to be done. He's always been a fun-loving person, but now he's matured into a good man who now understands the delicate balance between life and death. He's had to save people from dying. And he's had to watch them die, wondering if he could have done more.
My husband wishes he could fix everything. I even wish he could solve all my health worries. But as he's told me before, "Our bodies are imperfect. They are mortal, and there are just not perfect answers to every problem." If we want perfect doctors, then we should create robots for our medical care. Doctors are human. They make mistakes. But it's their humanity that makes them valuable and good at what they do. Because they are human, they feel the emotions of compassion and caring. And sometimes it's that compassion that keeps them going, because it isn't just a regular desk job.
So I guess all I'm trying to say is that there are doctors who still care. They aren't removed from the struggles of society--instead they are right in the thick of it. Next time you visit your doctor and you have to wait a long time, or you wish he/she would explain something better, remember what I said. Doctors are human. Remember that they are trying their best and that they really do care.