Don’t let the title of this post scare you. Or maybe it should. I don’t know.
Today, I had the delight of seeing my eye doctor (punny!). I don’t type that sarcastically (is that even possible?) because she is honestly one of the coolest people I know. She’s really fun to talk to and she cares about my life (or at least she pretends really well) and she also makes good medical decisions. She even recommends movies to me! She’s just an all around great doctor. So whenever I leave her office I’m reminded of how rare her pleasant demeanor is in medicine.
Over the past 3 years, I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of doctors for a lot of reasons. Some were great at medicine, some weren’t too exceptional, but most of them did have one similarity. I confess, my sample size isn’t large enough, but the vast majority of the doctors I’ve encountered don’t have the greatest bedside manner. The best (and probably funniest) example comes from a situation I experienced on Wednesday.
I was at the radiologist’s office getting an MRI when I was pulled out of the machine. I knew this time would come since normally my neurologist orders a contrast (I wish I could explain what that is) and this time was no different. Some info before I expound on this situation: the contrast is added intravenously and I have notoriously small veins. Some other things to add: an MRI machine is a big cylindrical box that makes a lot of noise. You can’t move around much inside of it because that would mess everything up. To stop you from moving the radiologist will tuck you into this…I don’t know…this thing that stops you from moving. To deal with the noise issue they’ll give you earplugs and headphones so that you can kind of drown out the noise from the machine.
Ok, enough exposition. When the radiologist pulled me out to give me the contrast she ran into the small-vein problem. After her first try, she couldn’t find a vein. She told me that she would try again somewhere else (I assume that’s what she said, since I couldn’t actually hear her. Still had the music and the earplugs). The second time she also missed. Again, she said some words that I couldn’t hear and she proceeded to call another radiologist over. This is where it got funny…kind of.
By the time the contrast was in my system, I had been stuck 4 times and I’m pretty sure the radiologists had just given up on trying to talk to me. So that’s where the human cadaver part comes in. It wasn’t the first time I had been stuck more than once in an effort to find a viable vein and I’m sure it won’t be the last but it was somewhat comical. It was an odd experience since I was situated on my back, unable to move or speak and completely under the control of these people. I felt like I was a med school cadaver.
That’s the thing, medicine is wonderful and exceedingly helpful but behind every sickness or small vein or dangerous affliction there’s a human being. So to every future or current medical professional who will never read this post, I hope you remember that. It’s great to be good at diagnosing diseases and finding cures but it’s just as good to be welcoming and relatable and compassionate.
Of course, it’s best to be all those things :).