Medicine

I’m a Person too, You Know.

“I hate podiatrists. Go see an orthopedist”

A response to someone on Facebook looking for help with a foot injury. I only saw it because a friend of mine tagged me and recommended my services.

I could go on about the differences in the two specialists, but that isn’t what I want to focus on. In truth, there are benefits to going to either and there are times I tell my own patients that they would be better served by an orthopedist.

Here is what I do want to focus on: the blanket and negative statement toward an entire group of people who have dedicated their lives to curing you of your lower extremity ailments.

Being a doctor is a full time lifestyle. It’s not something you can turn off, pile up and walk away from until the next shift. There is no ability to forget your patients and carry on. I’m on call 24/7 and I have been contacted by patients at all hours of the day, on weekends and holidays. I worry about those who have trusted me with their care and I do take things personally.

So when I see someone so flippantly negating an entire profession, writing them off as if they are not real people with real emotions, it makes me angry.

Your physician is a person. I guarantee you they are not out to cause harm or create worsening of your condition. I can tell you that they care about your outcome. How would like it if I declared that I hate all teachers, plumbers, HR personnel? Pretty ridiculous, isn’t it? Yet people get away with hating on the medical profession all the time.

You get angry if you have to wait more than 10 minutes yet the very next time you call to get worked in and get angry when you are told there isn’t any available time to do so. You want the doctor to be at your beck and call and then wonder why they appear tired, stressed and burnt out.

I’m a person. A person who dedicated  11 years to the study of your body and how to fix what can go wrong. Someone who didn’t travel or save up money when I was younger instead going deeper in debt and killing my eyesight reading endless textbooks and taking test after test. A person who does her best each and every day but just like you I am a person who sometimes wakes up overly tired or cranky. Can you honestly tell me that you never went to work tired and barely scraped by all day?

Before you write off an entire body of people who would have been way smarter to choose another profession, but chose this one out of a passion for helping others, remember that we are people too. Our job isn’t just a job. It gets carried home with us, bleeds into our regular conversations and wakes us up at 2 am with thoughts on what we could do differently.

I am more than just a podiatrist. I am a person too.

 

4 thoughts on “I’m a Person too, You Know.”

  1. I think that a doctor is one of those professions that nobody can understand unless they’ve been on the other side of it. I cannot imagine how stressful, demanding, and life-consuming your job is. The pressure from patients and from yourself must be constant. Those types of blanket statements make my blood boil. Heal your own damn foot, then! Sheesh.

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  2. I love my job and knew what I was getting into regarding the life but what I was never prepared for was the complete lack of understanding from the public. It’s a witch hunt for sure. I don’t think people understand that nobody has to do this. Everyone could quit and then where would they get their care from? It is a little better but still present in the vet field too.

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    1. It’s just as bad in specialty vet med, at least. I think with general practice a lot of clients have established a steady relationship with their vet and there is more trust and patience towards their pet’s doctor. But specialists, especially those involved in emergency and critical care, are seen as the enemy. People don’t want to wait more than 10 minutes in the lobby for their dog with an ear infection to be seen when we are working on stabilizing a bloated dog, a fractious cat in heart failure, and a Golden with a hemoabdomen all at once. A lot of people don’t understand, and sometimes they just don’t want to understand, that someone could have a much more critically emergent situation than what *they* perceive as an emergency. Or the one where they want all the bells and whistles for treatment for free, and then we are blamed for being in it “for the money” because the CT scan for their dog (which requires general anesthesia) before insurance (they often don’t have it) costs more than their own (which is done awake) after medical insurance. It never ends

      I completely understand how you feel!

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      1. Dusty worked in emergency med for 4 years and it was a different type of abuse that he received than what he does in private practice. For him, I think it also has a lot to do with being in the city (emergency clinic) versus small rural town. Either way, people just don’t look at the medical fields as being real people who are doing their best for you.

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