Working in healthcare for over 15 years now, I’ve obviously had a ton of experience with sick people. I’ve seen horrible cases in the hospital, of people who just can’t catch a break. Families that suffer and struggle for years with chronic illness.
You’d think that everyone who works in healthcare would walk around with a serious skip in their step, feeling constantly grateful for their own life and relatively small problems in comparison. However, (and I can’t speak for everyone, but I’d wager good money I’m right on this one), this just isn’t the case. It’s like anything… you get used to what you see everyday.
I don’t mean that nurses or doctors lack empathy or fail to see the sadness of the situations in front of them. It’s just that as humans, we adapt. We wouldn’t be very effective caregivers if we sat around sniffling and blubbering at the unfairness of it all. At some point you have to look at things a bit more objectively- treat the patient, do the job, make things better.
Now and then it still gets me though. I no longer work with patients in my current role, so I’m a little out of touch with that side of things. I do spend hours though each week reviewing the most intimate details of patients’ lives, medical histories, procedures, etc. in my data work. I literally often start at the beginning of a patient’s life (or the beginning of their “sick” life) and follow along to present day.
Instead of a snapshot in time, like I would sometimes see in the hospital, I now am seeing ALL of the problems they’ve ever had, compounded one upon another.
I managed data for a patient the other day who had 48 separate hospitalizations between 2008 and 2020. In the year 2018, this patient had 8 hospital stays- in a single year! Can you imagine that?? This person spent over 50 days of the year in a hospital bed in total.
Wow. If there’s ever something that makes you feel grateful for your health, it’s seeing that.
It sure brings some perspective to the table, doesn’t it. If you need something to be grateful for today….how about your HEALTH! This is your friendly reminder. 🙂
In brief other news:
I got my outdoor Halloween decorations up yesterday afternoon! Still need some pumpkins and a few other details, but the heavy lifting is done:
I also made my first batch of chili of the season. We had chili + corn muffins- YUMMY!!! P.S. If you’ve never added diced jalapenos to your chili, TRY IT.
2 thoughts on “Perspective”
It's easy to lose perspective but it's good to have reminders from time to time. I wonder if you do something similar to my sister – she has moved into QI/QA over the last several years of her career. She also worked for a transplant clinic as a coordinator and I know you worked in transplants, too, so you've had somewhat similar career paths! Now she is back in a QI role at the transplant clinic she used to work at. Mmmm, chili. That is such a great fall meal. We had some recently, too. I'm afraid to try to make some again because I think it will have too much carbs due to the beans but maybe if I increase the amount of meat it will work out. We'll see… I hate getting high blood sugars so am afraid to try things that might be too carby for me. But I love chili!!
i see what you mean that we adapt, to numb us from the pain, that's human nature. Yet, I think we are better reminded from time to time the privilege we have, physically and otherwise so we appreciate more. I've been thinking a lot lately about privileges that my girls have, something that I didn't experience when i was kid, how those will affect their world view and the urge to grow and succeed. food for thought, haven't figure it out.