Patient Care, Perspectives

Fragile


It was a slow day in clinic. Time was plentiful. Patients trickled in to be seen. I watched my practice in slow motion. I helped a patient make a better decision about their care. I contemplated on how fragile our health really is; on how symptoms dominate our thoughts and how having good health truly makes a difference to how we live our life. 

Cancer can be very silent in our bodies with vague unnoticed symptoms. It eats at our vitality and makes us weaker though we may not feel it until it is too late. It attacks us physically, emotionally and socially. It is difficult to convince a patient who feels well to accept a therapy that itself would make them feel worse. It’s a very delicate state to explain to a patient their vulnerability and how this disease could end their lives if they do not accept the therapy at hand. I find it frightening at the number of choices there are to navigate and how little time we have to explain rationally to our patients the best options they have.

What happens when the therapy we have to offer really does not have an impact on their lives or wellbeing? Should it be offered? How do you explain with all the progress that is hyped in the media that science for this one patient lags in finding a treatment that helps them get through their ordeal?

Today I felt I had that time, because things happened slowly. It was a refreshing look at care where as things moved slowly it felt like I could see more detail and focus more on my patient. It was like watching the replay of a touchdown.  I have always felt that healing is a process that needs time on its side.

Each patient as an individual needs to be handled with the utmost care, like they were a vase that could easily break. Perhaps that is how it should always be.

 Mo

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5 thoughts on “Fragile

  1. Claire Barnhouse says:

    Mo,
    You could not have said it more clear… I have been in your clinic now since last march.. so almost a year… time flys. I appreciate the time you can give me in your office..it is so fragile and precious.. I wish patients in the waiting area could really understand that better..and I know it is hard… I see they either don’t feel well, or in a hurry, or this is there first visit and there scared out of there mind…anxious, or annoyed I was there a year ago feeling the same way…. but what really matters is that they are there..and they are in the right place…. and they have someone like you that really cares and takes the time…I am so greatful that I have the University and you…
    Thank you again for being my wonderful doctor of science….
    Claire

  2. Thanks Mo for all you do for us, your patients. Your sensitivity and presence has a healing effect even when there are no treatment options recommended right now for some of us. Fortunately, healing is a much broader term than curing. Healing enables us to live each day with a grateful heart while we don’t really know what is happening in us physically. Sometimes it’s really good to just be and realize that in this moment I have everything I need and am everything I need to be. A deeper awareness that each day is a unique gift and an increased ability to consent to the beauty, goodness and love that are found in this day are gifts from my healing journey through sarcoma. Thanks again.

  3. Arwa says:

    I feel this in my clinic. If you rush a patient at a critical moment, it is like hastily handling a delicate vase or a lightbulb.. it breaks and there is no way to go back.

  4. Thank you for your sensitivity Mo. This post is exactly where we’re at – feeling too good to seem to need treatments that may prove difficult. We’ll be seeing you again this Tuesday, as the melanoma is back.

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