Friday, April 15, 2011

Is there a doctor in the house?

Source: Google Images
When I leave work at the end of the day, my work is done.  No one calls me up or sends me text messages asking about VDL's, what lots of land are trading at, or if the bills got processed that month.  When I leave work that world is behind me.  Dr. Love isn't quite as lucky.

The good thing about Family Medicine is there are always people who need your skills.  The bad thing about Family Medicine is there are always people who need your skills.

There never will be a shortage of colds, flu, weird body aches, gastrointestinal troubles, and questions about ears/eyes/noses/throats/feet/etc.  Most likely your friends and family will be afflicted with the maladies and who will they come to for help?  Their friendly personal doctor. 

The calls for help or answers will unavoidably come at the end of a 30 hour call shift, in the middle of the first day off in weeks, in the morning of the one day you get to sleep in, or after a really bad day in clinic.  Inevitably they will call when your stretched to the breaking point and the last thing you want to do is have one more medical problem to solve.  They're your loved ones though, your friends and family, and you can't tell Sister Sue that you are not able to listen to her questions about Niece Janie's earache because you're too tired.  In reality though all you want to do is have a day where you can put medicine on the back burner and not think about it.  So what's a doc to do?

Do you set ground rules about when and how often you'll take questions and consults for friends/family/acquaintances outside of regularly scheduled business hours?

Do you bite the bullet and be at their beckon call accepting that it's just part of this crazy ride called medicine?

Does the fact that your friends and family have suffered through the trials and tribulation of med school along with you (though not to the same extent) entitle them to take part in the benefit of the end result?

How do you keep a balance between work and life?

I'm not sure there's a clear cut solution to this but I know the conundrum has weighed on Dr. Love lately. He wants to help but needs, heck we both need, time where he can step away from medicine for a bit and just be him without someone needing his attention.  I know the family doesn't do it with the malicious intent to take advantage of him but rather they usually have something they're concerned/curious about and naturally the first person you're going to think of is your buddy/brother that you have on speed dial. 

I think I should start working on an "off duty" light for him to signal when he is no longer taking medical questions for the day.  Is there an app for that? 

1 comment:

  1. i'm doing my nicu fellowship and am still getting questions from girlfriends about gyn problems or family members about hypertension. i also have a few friend that ask me about their kids (which is more reasonable). i usually just give in and try to answer as best i can and then tell them to ask/see their doctor. its really hard to say no or set ground rules.


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