Reports of Burned-out
Physicians Summon
the Fun Police

If there were such a thing as the Fun Police, I honestly believe that some weeks I would be arrested.

Of course, I have days when life is just dandy, and I want to skip down the hospital corridor.

But, trust me, it’s usually the other way around.

If you are anything like me, you spend most of your days keeping your head down, your nose to the grindstone, rushing to finish one more dictation and check one more pathology report before you head out the door.

Do you ever feel you need a mid-week pick-me-up, but can’t see an opportunity in sight?

Here’s what I do when that happens to me: I live vicariously through my patients.

If you read this blog regularly, you know I encourage the families of my surgery patients to reward the patients with everything from flowers and candy to home cooked meals. Sometimes patients get carried away. You can read about that here.

Over the years, this has been a way to bring the patients’ families into the healing process. It can be the tiniest thing (putting ointment on their loved one’s sutures twice a day) or much bigger.

It’s fun to see where the conversation will go when I suggest to patients and their family members different options to speed up the healing process.

I have had family members “reward” patients with a new dining room table, landscaping for the backyard, lunch at a fancy restaurant, and even a kitchen remodel.

The other day, a patient came in for his one-week post-op appointment. I asked him if his wife gave him anything special to help his healing.

He said they were finally going to take the cruise of a lifetime, and pulled out brochures from the travel agent. There were pictures of the countryside of Italy that looked like they belonged in a movie. We both smiled as we talked about his upcoming trip.

Sure, living vicariously through your patients isn’t quite the same as a trip to Europe. But, it can put a smile on your face that just might keep the Fun Police at bay a little while longer.

CATEGORIES: Blog on August 4, 2014 by Starla Fitch, M.D.

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