Imperfect people need medical care, too


The sea ice contracts but it grows

The solider parts are called floes.

     Behind us are trucks,

     In front of us ducks,

With the smell of the spring in the nose.

If a person suffers brain damage from parental medical neglect after being born three months early to a cocaine abusing mother and then spends the next seventeen years being emotionally and physically abused by the father, that person will have multiple medical problems for the rest of their life.  After we talked, the patient agreed that I could write that much.

If I had asked to write more, the patient would probably have agreed to it, but for a lot of reasons I deliberately did not ask.

Sometimes I deal with medically complicated patients.  They have multiple problems, drug interactions must be considered, frequently they ask for medications that would not be in their best interests.  I spend a lot of time saying no and a lot of time explaining.  I try not to lose track of what I can and cannot do.

Nobody is born perfect, and peoples’ bodies suffer from the accumulation of past mistakes.  Some people learn more quickly than others. 

Each of my patients deserves the best medical care that I can give. 

During a different century, in a different town, I was the consulting medical doctor for an inpatient psychiatric unit specializing in evil adolescents.  I did my medical best for them, just as I do for the Hospice patients and the nursing home patients. 

Sometimes doing my medical best for the patient means subverting my ego and admitting that I’m not the right doctor for the patient.

****

Morning and afternoon clinics passed at a deliciously reasonable pace.  I gave out more sympathy than narcotics.  I gave advice on shampooing eyelashes with Johnson’s No More Tears shampoo and Q-tips.   I recommended Googling low glycemic index diet, specific dynamic action and Ultimate Body Shaping.

I have seen a distressing number of people in the last six weeks who have heat intolerance, weight loss (which, however desirable, is NOT NORMAL in 21st century USA), tremor, insomnia, racing heart, and no inner peace.  Some of them have thyroid problems, most do not.

After clinic Bethany and I had supper together.  She has been exploring Barrow on foot and got a good amount of walking in.  The sky was cloudy but not homogeneously so, and the wind died down to reasonable for the first time in 6 weeks.  We went for a walk on the beach and found piled-up ice floes, some of them a beautiful sapphire blue.  I pointed out that tropical beach vacations have been done already, and are overdone, but few people can lay claim to have ‘been there, done that’ with an Arctic beach vacation.

Less than fifty yards from road traffic, large flocks of large ducks flew past, skimming the water; a duck hunter could have done well with a dog and chest waders.

Band practice went till 9:00 PM; tomorrow night is our last gig and we’ll play three hours.

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