Firefighters get it, so do daughters


I advise, I am not commanding.

In a profession that awfully demanding.

     It has been my fate

     To have patients so great

They show me true understanding.

A firefighter came in today.  He gave me permission to write about our conversation.

He could retire in two years at half-pay if he wanted to. I made the observation that the day he went to work after he could have retired, he would only be working for half-pay.  He told me about the benefits of continuing to work, all of them true and many with a cash value.  An intelligent man, he knows how to sit down and figure out the costs and benefits of different choices.  He does his homework.

He also understands, better than most outside the medical profession, the burden of vigilance and long hours.  During his fifty-two hour work week he can be called literally at any second to perform life and death work.  His job, absolutely vital to society, robs his sleep of rest. 

He recognizes the desirability of slowing down and the dangers of stopping. 

He said he’ll miss me as his doctor, after all, he’s been my patient for almost 23 years, but he understands my decision.

He truly does. 

I asked another patient permission to put her observations in my blog, and she said yes.

“You have to do this,” she said, “And you have to do it before you burn out.  I know.  My father was a doctor and he burned out.  He had a heart attack at 62 and he died.  Take some time and enjoy life.  I’ve appreciated you as a doctor, I’ve always felt you really listen to me.  I’m going to miss you in the year you’re gone and I’m probably going to follow you when you come back to town.”

I have patients who really understand me, who really get it.

Contrast is the essence of meaning, I also have patients who don’t.

Two of today’s patients have their respective dominant thumbs firmly on the self destruct button.  They come from vastly different backgrounds, but they have come to the final common pathway to finality.  They are among the many alcoholic diabetics with high blood pressure and bad cholesterol who do not get it.  They may never get it. 

I was able to say, “You’re an alcoholic, and it’s going to kill you,” without burning any bridges.

It took me years to perfect that skill set.

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One Response to “Firefighters get it, so do daughters”

  1. trapped4daze Says:

    I was blessed with a wonderful, compassionate, very wise doctor. How many people can say their doctor is their friend? He was one of those doctors that took the time to get to know you, I never felt rushed and he always made sure he answered all my questions. He wasn’t looking at his watch or heading for the door while I was still talking. He knew just what to ask me just by looking at me to determine what was wrong. He always seemed to remember everything I told him and he always asked how certain things were going. I never had to worry about my medications, he always checked to make sure any new med wouldn’t bother what I was taking. ( I once had a doctor that prescribed a new med for me. I asked him if it would interfere with what I was taking at the time, he just stopped and stared at me and said he would be back in a minute and he left the room. A few minutes later, maybe 5, he came back in the room and got his script pad out of his pocket and sat down. He said, “we’re gonna try this other one.” Now if I hadn’t asked the question…? My doctor carried around a little contraption in his pocket and when he gave me a new drug, if he had a speck of a doubt about it, he always looked it up. I trusted him. He was very, very intelligent. I was sick one day with a bad head cold, ear ache, the works, so I knew I had to go to the doctor. My doctor was gone for the week so I had to see someone else. I think an angel was watching over me that day. I was put in the little room to wait. I was glad to be there, knowing I would probably get a med to make my misery go away but I was nervous about meeting a new doctor. He walked in and I thought, “OH BOY” and smiled. He shook my hand and introduced himself. He asked me what symptoms I was having and he told me what was wrong and gave me the z-pak. He explained how it worked, (make sure you take ALL the pills) lol and asked me if I had any questions. He shook my hand again and said it was nice to meet me and get well. Before he left his seat, he told me a joke. I thought that was pretty weird. He was treating me like a human being not a number. The next time I had to call and make a appointment with a doctor, I asked if I could see the same doctor I saw the last time, it was cool! So I am not for sure but it’s been over 15 years now I have been seeing this doctor. (heard a joke every time too 🙂 )He has been a blessing to me, has seen me through alot of good and BAD stuff. He is now leaving the office to move on with his life. When I first read the letter he sent out to his patients about him leaving us, and us having to choose a new doctor, I was angry, I then cried like a baby and then I was happy. This man deserves ALL in my book. I know this is what he needs and wants to do. I am very happy for him and I know he will continue to make a difference in people’s lives. I saw him the beginning of this week for a check for my diabetes. He asked me if I received the letter and if I knew he was leaving. I said, “Who said you could.?” We both laughed. He had been hearing that ALOT from his patients. He will be missed! I’ll never forget all he has done for me, and the difference he has made in my life! Where ever you are Doc, know I’m cheerin’ for ya!!

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