Doing medicine is not just about giving the best advice or the best drug. Myself at times tends to get hasty when the workload gets too hectic, and starts jumping to conclusions before the patient could even finish his/her sentences. At the end of the day, what the patient needs most may not be the advice you give, or the blood tests or x-rays you’ve ordered, or even the medication you’ll be giving. They just want some of your time, to have you listen to their troubles and that, easily be the best medicine you could ever give.
Come to think of it, I’ve talked about this before in one of my previous post. I can be a little cheong hei (long-winded). In person, I don’t really like to talk much and I’m not really a people person but when it comes to talking to patients, I can talk non-stop. The irony.
A couple of days ago, I saw an elderly gentleman who was in his late 60-s, complained of body aches. He had multiple issues like an excised kidney for renal cell carcinoma, underlying gastric reflux, osteoarthritis and all the yadda-yadda stuff. Funny part was I didn’t dwell much on his presenting complaint. After asking a few quick questions, he then started sharing about him having the initial thought of dying as soon as possible since he had so many medical problems at hand. However, since the coming of his new born grandson (which he described him as sooooo cute), he decided to live a little longer until at least he’s in school. And he asked, “Can right?”. Speechless moment with an awkward pause, which I replied with a smile. And of course he carried on sharing about his life stories for a while. In the end, he thanked me and left the room happily without having me to examine him (Fine. I admit I had totally forgotten about it). Somehow, after the conversation, it kinda brightened up my day, especially when you’re being bombarded relentlessly with tons of patients to see each day.
Just thought of sharing it with you guys as listening, is both therapeutic not only for the patients but for the receiving party as well.
Are you a good listener?