We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Is your doctor a commodified technician, or is it a relationship? I was trained that the physician relationship was key to everything we do. Foundational. Oftentimes, when seeing endless streams of patients in charity clinics, we as young docs needed to be reminded about how important we were to them. We were reminded of our priestly role in peoples' lives, that they talked about us and thought about us far more than we did about them.
Today, many of our doctors are impersonal to us, or invisible. You have no relationship with the anesthesiologist (unless her or she lives next door), the pathologist, the Infectious Disease consultant, the radiologist, etc. However, we do have important relationships with our hands-on docs; our Gynecologists, Internists, Pediatricians, even your Orthopedic Surgeon. Certainly Psychiatrists, who are not literally hands-on but are certainly intimate relationships.
You can have it, but it will cost you. In my field of medicine, I am a hold-out against the commodification of medical care and treatment. For me, the relationship is the key, and, in the old priestly way, relationships with my patients also sustain me and educate me in my work. That is the non-monetary reward.
So to all of you patients out there, remember to thank your docs this year. A grateful holiday card is sufficient. A holiday Cheesecake is not necessary.
And Happy Holiday Season to all. This family is heading to the north woods for snow and cold fun for a while, and our holiday festivities. God bless you all.
No mention of Emergency Medicine doctors..We do all the heavy lifting in medicine these days. "Send them to the ER " holidays, weekends or when patients get needy. We're the nation's safety net. Why if we weren't around you might have to stay in the office till 501 pm...