Monday, February 9, 2009

House of God

If you really want insight into what medicine is like day to day, then read "The House of God." It is an amazing book written in the 70s by a doctor going through his internships. The main lessons from it are that medicine is a painful journey. It seriously breaks us to the bone. It hurts physically and emotionally. Its like slowly developing a chronic "post traumatic stress syndrom." You learn how human you are. And if you aren't humbled daily, somethings wrong.
Also, people simply want to know what its like. I hear all the time from fam and friends, "so whats the craziest thing you have seen lately?" People want to know

In response to a message I received from someone I respect.....this blog is not meant to belittle others. It isn't "us" vs "them." In fact, the only reason "we" are working in this field is for "them." But life is funny. Medicine is funny. People are funny. But medicine also hurts...daily...and deep. We see deep into people's lives and deep into society, and honestly its scary. Bloggin about the funny things for others to read, complaining about the daily grind, and sharing the sadness to help ourselves heal might not be the best way to deal with it...but it is a way. People look for us for a fix of the things that plague them...and more often than not we can't help . Then, it's the same disappointing look in their eye that haunts you when you try to go to feel it in your stomach. We realize we don't cure...butthats what they want.

Last week towards the end of a long night, I cherry picked the chart rack for an easy case. Arm pain in a 27 year old...sounds easy. I examine the guy and it seems straight forward. Xray and out the door. But wait, its never that easy in the House of God. Xray shows a huge lytic lesion (cancer) thats obviously spread from somewhere else. I get to tell the young guy and his fiance that instead of getting a pain pill and going home, he gets to stay in the hospital while we find the cancer thats gonna kill him. Thats NOT funny. It sucks. That's some of the kind of stuff you will read here. SO excuse me if we also share the funniness of humanity that helps us get through the day as well. In the end, we end up loving the crazy patients with the funny stories...b/c they don't hurt.

ER Doc


tracy said...

"H of G" Great book!!! The sequel, "Mount Misery" is even better...especially if you are a psychiatrist..hint, hint!

SeaSpray said...

Found you through WhiteCoat.

GREAT blog!

I am blogroolling you and know I am gonna enjoy this blog. :)

I love to write funny things (says me..hey if it makes me laugh..I'm happy:).. then again.. I go through the serious times too.

It's all cathartic/healing/entertaining/addicting. :)

Good look with your blog. :)