Last evening I crumbled in the arms of my patient and wept. This was unknown territory to me, an unexpected role reversal.
For three weeks after my Mom’s death, I maintained a stoic distance as patients offered their condolences, as they asked about my mother, and empathized. We doctors have been trained to do this, to face death, to keep our emotions at arm’s length. But this patient, who has faced so many tragedies herself, recognized the emptiness and loss I was experiencing. She held me and let my tears flow. I was embarrassed.
Never in 30 years have I lost my composure before a patient. But I, too, need to grieve, and grief creeps up on you unexpectedly when looking at an X-ray or glancing at a sunset.
Wow. I love this. As I've said repeatedly, doctors and nurses are #human. They are trained and become hardened not to allow themselves to be vulnerable, open, and mortal. The system as I type this post is as bad as I've ever seen it. I navigated it today for my son and it's appalling.
Every day I'm either contacted or read about more healthcare distress. BUT, as much as #patients and #caregivers are frustrated, our healthcare providers are too, and many are without control over the situation. I felt this doctor's post. We are all walking on a tightrope. Be kind. #healthcare #nurses #doctors #love #grief #mentalhealth #management #burnout #death #findyourwhy