I was raised in a middle class, typical nuclear family with a strict, no nonsense father; he was fair but tough when it came to school and education. There was little television, mainly reading in the evenings. My mother had the social graces and was warm, caring, and loved to interact with others. I followed the straight and narrow, and never deviated or did anything stupid to dishonor the family name. There was never any extended or mixed family members-no step children or divorced adults with kids from previous failed marriages; there was no moving from place to place every 3-5 years chasing a paycheck. Life was predictable and rigid with little frills along the way; but my sister and I were well provided for since my parents were frugal and conservative and wasted not anything. Why do I recant my past?
Most folks have preconceived notions about others-how they talk (or murder the English language), act or dress. It’s hard to be nonjudgmental regarding others when they act differently from your sensibilities. So for me, the hardest part of being a physician was tolerance and empathy. Most patients come to me for only two reasons: to fix a problem they are experiencing or to feel better. They are not in my office to impress me or pretend they are some one else. They lay bare their emotions, fears, and regrets about past indiscretions. I have to be objective with myself and subjective with my patients. I must do what is best for that particular patient without condescension, ridicule, or judgment. Empathy and compassion for someone else’s plight must be genuine and sincere-not belittled or scoffed at. Everyone screws up and often pay dearly; others just have bad luck with health or money and are desperate. To serve others compassionately without irritation or judgment is the hallmark of a wonderful physician. Being aloof, bored, disinterested or argumentative won’t cut it-understanding, listening, and doing the right thing for your patients will win out every time. Everyone is carrying a heavy load-a struggle to keep heart and soul together through tough times. So now, finally I judge not-why should I? I do everything I can to make my patients’ physical and emotional health improve; to perform their daily battle against the vicissitudes of a hard life. It is pure joy for me to improve the most vital element in anyone’s life-health, for without it, life isn’t much fun.
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