You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person,
I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome. – Hunter Patch Adams
I wanted to entitle this a Pink Post, but I think it’s more than that ~ it’s more than how the patient feels treated by the doctor, it’s about how we treat all people in every step of our life’s path. Treating a person, as a person, is what we should do. Sometimes I think we get caught up in what we believe is right, how we believe this person ought to be and we smother the uniqueness of the individual.
As a breast cancer patient, I’ve been treated in all different manners by all different physicians and staff. I’ve been whittled down to just another set of boobs, I’ve been treated like a statistic and I’ve been looked at as a physical body which needs repair.
And then, I’ve been treated like a person, a woman who has endured 15 surgeries, who has feelings, who is hurting and doing the best she can, who has a family that she takes care of and is the matriarch of, a woman who juggles being a wife, mom, daughter, caregiver, who’s taken over after her dad passed away all that needs to be done, careerwoman and friend, all in the same day, many times, juggling all those balls in the air at the same moment.
It is in those precious moments, those special connections, when someone looks me in the eye asking, “How are you?” and I know I can trust them to actually listen for the answer ~ or the non-answer as it may be. To me, that is a priceless feeling which cannot be ignored.
So whether you are a physician or staff, friend or family, take a moment past the “I’m fine” answer of the patient to hear all that she/he isn’t saying as well. If you look closely, you may see the wince of pain, the tiny tremble in their chin and know that a little bit of care will go a long way in healing. Reach out to hold the hand offered and to really look in their eyes. That special moment of treating them as a real person goes a long way.
As patients, we realize that you deal with many different people who are hurting all day and we can sympathize with you that we are just one of the many for you. But, aside from your job, treating a person as a person, no matter how busy you are, makes all the difference in the world ~ to you and to the person with whom you are interacting.
Our world would be such a brighter place if we all could do this ~ treat a person as a person.