Monday, February 06, 2006

doctoring day

I've been at work today and my brain is tired. I have had too many perplexing patients lately. I'm restless and fidgety and fretting over the unsolved mysteries of the day. I need to do some medical reading. But first, a blog entry. Blogging can be a real stress-buster after a tough day, don't you think?

There were some great moments in my day, busy though it was. I saw a young woman for a follow-up visit after starting treatment for depression 3 weeks ago. Last visit she was wan and sad and quiet. Today she was smiling and talking with animation - almost back to the person I have known for the past 5 years. Now that's a real joy to see!

Another patient today reminded me of something that never fails to leave me in awe - the power the human body has to heal itself. We doctors think we are curing people, yet often it is simply time, and the body itself, that turns the tide. Today I saw a lady for a check-up, 8 weeks after having a baby. During the delivery, she had an episiotomy done (don't read on if squeamish, OK!) which for non-medical people/non-mothers, is a cut made at the vaginal opening to allow the baby's head to come out more easily. When I saw this lady 8 days after childbirth, her nether regions were a mess. I had to control myself not to say 'Good God!' out loud. The stitching had been done messily, and the two edges of the wound had separated, so that a centimetre of raw flesh was on view. There were no signs of infection, however, and I knew the lady was a sensible person, who would return if there were problems. So I explained to her how things were, suggested salty bathes, and asked her to come back for check-ups. Today, at her second appointment since then, the scar is fine and pale, and almost flat. I unfortunately can take none of the credit. This lady's body did all the work. It is amazing and humbling to witness.

Perhaps you think I'm a little odd, being amazed and humbled whilst staring at someone's genitalia. I certainly thought I was weird, when re-reading the previous paragraph. But medical jobs turn people a bit strange and twisted. You become fascinated by rashes, intrigued by boils, inquisitive about phlegm. It's not normal, but someone's got to do the weird jobs. We can't all be well-dressed financial advisers or sensible librarians.

That was my day - mundane but satisfying, challenging but interesting. How was your day?

13 comments:

TUFFENUF said...

I will never forget my first autopsy. I remember thinking how wonderful it is that everything is packed so neatly inside the human body. I have also spent a lot of time (work related) in the emergncy room. I have seen people wounded that I did not think would survive, and the knowledgeable doctors doing proceedures that save their lives. Like everything in life, it appears that "attitude" plays an important part in the patients recovery. Hats off to the doctors of the world, and to you, "Dr. Jellyhead"!

Alice said...

My day was very tame compared to yours. I just ate, blogged, weeded, watered, raked, swept, ate, slept, read, ironed, showered, ate and blogged again. Not necessarily in that order, and certainly not all together, but I enjoyed it anyway.

However, I am more than thankful for compassionate doctors like yourself. God bless you, Jelly.

Motherkitty said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I wish you were my physician.

Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us. You make us feel humble and proud that you are on this earth helping ordinary people heal themselves. What a wonderful post.

What I did yesterday pales in comparison to all you "active" people.

John Cowart said...

What a delightful posting.

Your sense of awe and wonder come through beautifully.

I think one of the deepest spiritual experiences I've ever had was while dissecting a cat in a biology class.

As for sensible librarians, our middle daughter is a librarian and belive me, there's nothing sensible about them!

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Your post was genuine and I am proud to know you. You are a very caring doctor who has not let herself harden to the ordinary things in life. I truly believe in the power of the body to heal itself, although sometimes it does need some intervention and looking after by a good caring doctor as yourself.

My days, compared to your's are pretty mundane...I sit here this morning drinking my coffee...with no where to go...but I will enjoy the world from within my shelter today.

Heather said...

Medical people are impressed by odd things, aren't we?

You are such a good doctor, Jelly. I wish they all cared as much as you do!

My day? Right now is stressful. In four hours, I will be great. Ask me then.

Flossy said...

Well, my day was nowhere near as interesting as yours.

I tend to only go to see the doctor when it's really necessary, but I wish that you were our family GP.
It's so nice to hear someone still has a sense of wonder about what they do - well done Dr Jelly!

shellyC said...

Glad that doctors are amazed at the healing capacities of the human body and dont attribute it all to the care they administer.

After 3 children and tears and stitches I too am amazed at the healing powers of my own body!!!!!

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Jelly...I just stopped in to tell you that my oldest daughter started a blog today...merely because she was trying to leave a comment. But please check it out.

It's called
"Camellia in June" and the link is on my blog or motherkitty's.

Kerri said...

I'm so glad I stopped in and read this post. It really is lovely to read a compassionate doctor's thoughts. You do so well imparting them. Thank you! As for my day yesterday, (it's early in this one yet and so far it's been great...visiting blogs :) I worked in the kindergarten class from hell (Mrs. H's misfits), and was exhausted by the end or it. However, I dearly love those kids and would go back every time they call me...except today! I'm having a delicious day off. BTW, I sub at school, a job I greatly enjoy. It's NEVER boring.
P.S. I stopped over from Alice's blog. Stop in and visit my blog if you ever get a spare minute! You should see the snow outside this morning....there's lots of it!

donna y said...

Ouch!! I am praying that I won't have to have an episiotomy.

Oh, an librarians aren't always as sensible as you might think!

manababies said...

I used to work out at a gym that was connected to a hospital. I knew right off the bat that most of the people there worked at that hospital (or were students there). I overheard many interesting things, and it was funny how candidly these people talked about things you don't normally hear about. At one time, two nurses were talking about their plans for the day. "Yeah, today I'm doing breasts... how 'bout you?"

But I loved this post because it reminded me that there are some really great people in the medical profession.

jellyhead said...

Thanks so much, everyone, for your lovely comments. I was very surprised that this odd little post received such a positive reaction! But thank you - your words really made me feel appreciated (whether deserved or not!)