Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Other Foot...or Shoe...Whatever

I took my boyfriend to have sinus surgery last week. I appointed myself his designated nurse/caregiver for all post-operative needs. I thought to myself, "I'm a doctor, I care for patients all day. I can do this."

There is a difference, though, when you're caring for your patients. Yes, I care about them. Yes, I often go home and worry about them, call the nurse later to check in on them, and check my home computer to make sure their labs are OK. But, it's very different when it's someone you really care about.

It was awful to see him in pain. It was heart wrenching when there was nothing I could do but pat his hand and wish that the clock moved faster so I could get him another pain pill. It was horrible to wonder if all that blood he was spitting out was normal.

I think I'm a very empathetic person, and this experience has taught me to be a little more patient with family members who are struggling with how to do dressing changes, how to give insulin shots and how to help care for someone who is in pain and hurting after a procedure. If I had all of those feelings of doubt, how much more will someone with no medical background wonder about all that bloody spit.