Doctors Are Detectives

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Copyright : ostill

There is tremendous responsibility in being a physician, and I take it very seriously. Any time I walk into a medical facility and see patients, I know that the patients and staff are all counting on me to assess patients fully, make proper diagnoses, and provide appropriate treatments. Basically, I know that I MUST make the right decisions at all times and be at the top of my game. Talk about pressure! Nevertheless, the thrill of solving a problem is so rewarding that it quickly eradicates any feelings of anxiety.

I just read Atul Gawande’s excellent book, Being Mortal, and I love this passage in which he very aptly describes the satisfaction which can come from being a physician:

“You become a doctor for what you imagine to be the satisfaction of the work, and that turns out to be the satisfaction of competence. It is a deep satisfaction very much like the one that a carpenter experiences in restoring a fragile antique chest or that a science teacher experiences in bringing a fifth grader to that sudden, mind-shifting recognition of what atoms are. It comes partly from being helpful to others. But it also comes from being technically skilled and able to solve difficult, intricate problems. Your competence gives you a secure sense of identity. For a clinician, therefore, nothing is more threatening to who you think you are than a patient with problem you cannot solve.”

The truth is that pretty much every physician has come across a case which he or she could not solve, one which necessitated a discussion with a specialist, or a lengthy literature review to aid in diagnosing the zebra who walked into the office that day. Physicians are human, fallible, and though they usually have the answers to the puzzles which are constantly presented to them, they may find themselves stumped every now and then, and that is a dreadful feeling.

It is an honor to serve humankind as a problem-solver, and I will always strive to keep my clinical acumen as sharp as possible in order to provide the best medical care.

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Get Out Of Your Own Head!

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Copyright : Kamil Macniak 
 

I’m writing this as much for myself as I am writing it for you readers. I had been meaning to write a blog post about how to break the vicious cycle of overthinking which comes with anxiety. Honestly, there really is no point to worrying about what may happen, and there is never a good enough reason to lose sleep. Yet many of us will toss and turn, ruminating over current dilemmas, and robbing ourselves of precious slumber, all because we just can’t turn off our brains.

When we obsess over situations which we have little power to change in that moment, we act like hamsters on a wheel, going endlessly around and around, finding no exit and no solution.  So why do we do it?  How do we let it go?

Though it can be difficult to break free from the urge to keep thinking about how to solve problems in our lives, doing so is a vital component in calming our nerves and keeping us balanced and sane.  So the next time you find yourself fretting over something like a conflict at work, a financial issue, or something else which has you all tied up in knots, do the following:

  1. Ask yourself, “Will worrying about my issue help me in any way to solve it?”  If the answer is no (and it usually is no), then there truly is NO POINT to thinking about it.  Let it go, breathe, and get on with your day.  
  2. If you just can’t turn off your thoughts, then grab a notebook and a pen, and write down a list of all pros and cons and potential solutions you can think of.  Then put your notes away and don’t look at them until the next day.  Quite frequently, you will find your answer in those notes you scribbled.
  3. Remember that there is ALWAYS another way to look at a situation, even if you think you are stuck.  So think outside the box.  
  4. Sleep on it.  We often get ourselves so worked up about conflicts and obstacles, that simply getting a good night’s sleep can help to clear our thoughts so that we can tackle such conflicts with a refreshed mind.  

 

No Such Thing As Impossible

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I have always believed strongly in the expression, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”. I proudly demonstrate this belief in everything I do, and don’t respond well to people who tell me that something can’t be done.

Several weeks ago, an air conditioning repair man was sent to our house to investigate the reason why our central A/C unit was not functioning properly. After an hour of inspecting the entire system, the repair man launched into an explanation of what was happening. Here’s how it all went down:

REPAIR MAN: “As you suspected, there IS a leak, but it is in a spot where it can’t be repaired.”

ME: “Well, that is completely unacceptable. Of COURSE there is a way to repair it. Now tell me HOW it can be repaired.”

– REPAIR MAN looks at ME with surprise and apprehension.

REPAIR MAN: “Okay, here’s what’s really happening. The leak is in a spot that is impossible to get to, so basically the entire coil must be replaced. I certainly don’t think the owner would be happy about having to replace the entire coil, since it is a big job and pretty costly.”

It is absolutely unacceptable to me to have someone tell me that a solution to a problem doesn’t exist. That is when I call bullshit. There MUST be a solution, especially when dealing with maintenance people or customer service. In the situation I described above, the A/C repair man’s assessment was influenced by the fact that he was intimidated by the owner. He knew there was a solution, but was reluctant to share it with me because his interests were with the management company and the owner of the property.

What blows my mind is that I have been in the middle of a number of situations this year in which I was told that no solution existed, and every time, I challenged the person making such a statement. And you know what? Every time a solution suddenly appeared out of nowhere to quell my rising ire. I will admit that when pushed, I can turn from zero to bitch in no time flat, but this isn’t about being bitchy. There is ALWAYS a solution.
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