Pinch-hitting and Tears
Today’s lessons: be prepared for everything, including all the “pertinent negatives”.
-Always carry tissues for patients
-Tell patients they can cry when you’re with them…because they won’t
otherwise, and they really want to.
I keep getting hung up when a doc asks a question like: “have you heard anything from X?”
Well… no, or else I would have put something on there. And then I start thinking, “well what if they did call, what if something happened…” I think I think too much. Conclusion, just assertively say yes or no. No no no.
Ended up pinch-hitting for Lorenia, and it’s a good thing to know everyone’s skills. Just in case something happens, you can fill in for them without falling apart. Note to self if I start my own practice.
Gosh… It’s so personal for me when I meet people who are depressed. I really feel like there’s no way for someone to resolve it for you. They can only be vaguely supportive, but you really need to dig yourself out of the hole. Today I was speaking to an LPNurse who was unloading all her troubles. She’s lost her job, forced to move in with her parents, taking care of her father who is a recovering alcoholic and sounds verbally abusive, she had a broken leg which she never got examined/put into a cast, is overweight, has COPD, still smokes because she’s under so much stress.
When you’re seeing someone in this context, there’s just an emotional gulf between you and the patient. You don’t know them very well and they’re reaching out to you because you’re a stranger but are in a position of authority.
You feel sympathy but it’s not like you’re really there with them. You don’t feel that sad. It’s the kind of sad you feel when you watch something on television. Because if you were that affected, you’d be crying with them. The crying is an important part I think. Shedding tears in public is pretty taboo. It’s a symbol of weakness and irrationality. But it’s also this very physical release for your mounting anxiety. It’s weird to “give permission” to someone to let it out, but I’m putting that in my book of good things to do. Because it was so clear she was keeping it in just for posterity but needed to get it out to someone.