Day 18/46 of daily Lenten blog journey
With certain specialties of medicine come different categories of pride. What I mean to say is, each branch of medicine has a perspective on their service that brings them self-satisfaction and dignity.
For instance, ER docs may take pride in their unruffled serenity despite any catastrophe that they might encounter. Surgeon’s may delight in the fine dexterity and precision in which they exact their craft. An Anesthesiologist, may find joy in their attention to detail, and a psychiatrist in their art of diagnosis. And finally, a neurosurgeon may find fulfillment in their Ferrari (I kid!!).
As a family doc, I find my virtue and self worth in my capacity for compassion. Without eyes to see suffering, and without a will to respond to it, as doctors we can become very cynical and overwhelmed.
So, in the context of those sentiments, one evening two colleagues and I converged upon a wailing young man in the emergency department. His name was Potsie (not his real name) and he was 12 years old. Dr. Alex, Dr. Ivan (their names have been changed to protect the mostly innocent), And I advanced on the young man to see what all the ruckus was about. It was his ankle, and the injury had occurred during a Fútbol match (the real football, not American style). He kicked, and the other guy kicked, and their ankles met in battle.
I needed to assess the ankle to decide our next move. I looked at his ankle and It didn’t look swollen. And the degree to which he was writhing and moaning started to trip my “Wussy-Radar.” I quickly determined that young Potsie was just being a weenie, and undeserving of the near limitless compassion and mercy that I am capable of administering.
Dr. Alex and Dr. Ivan looked on (in horror) as I proceed to grab his ankle and wrench hither and thither, in jerky fashion, as I ascertained whether it was just a sprain or warranted an X-ray.
Now Dr. Alex is a surgeon, and they are known to mercilessly mash on abdomen’s full of infection and rotting bowels, or leaking Gallbladders, in the pursuit of Surgical Opportunity. The more it hurts, the greater chance they have to cut, which is what ultimately brings joy to every surgeons heart.
But even Dr. Alex winced and grimaced as I worked my exam, Potsie whimpering all the while. Both he and Dr. Ivan cautioned me that I might be proceeding in too cavalier a fashion. “Nonsense”, I scoffed, as I was certain Potsie was faking it, trying to garner the sympathy of his entourage of family.
In the end, I relented to the xray.
Turns out that I may have slightly miscalculated. There was a displaced distal fibular fracture, with displaced Salter Harris I tibia fracture. Very painful. Oopsie-doodle, my Bad!
At this point, I turned on my compassion and empathy button, and showered him with mercies. He instantly felt better, and the day was saved. The next day, Dr. Ivan and Dr. Alex reduced his fracture and put him in a cast. Not sure why I wasn’t invited to that little party?
That night I enjoyed a delicious helping of crow.
Please keep my patient, Daphne, in your continued prayers (see link for her previous story). We just don’t know what we can do to improve her situation. We locked eyes this morning for a moment, and I felt like she acknowledged the hopeless situation, but she said that it was “in God’s hands.”
Photo of the day:
Miss Rosanne, one of the founders of our ministry here in Honduras (Cornerstone foundation) is a fantastic artist. She is responsible for the painting below of Heidi and Juliet walking on the beach. If you love impressionist art, check out her gallery, click HERE. or find her on Instagram (rosannelillardmckenneyart).
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