Where Have the Knights Gone?

March 28, 2011

We knights in the medical community want to fix things. We want to get things done. And when we can’t, it’s frustrating.

I’d like to think that when people decide to pursue a career in medicine, that they do it because they want to help people. So what happens to these noble knights? What eats away at their shining armor, leaving what appears to be a heartless empty rust bucket?

I think it’s because many of these knights also have a “type A” personality. We have high expectations of ourselves and of others. We want to get things done. We want to “fix” things. And when we can’t, it’s frustrating.

Maybe it’s partly because we can’t always use our weapons of choice. Like when the insurance company says, “using that sword is not cost effective. Here, use this pen-knife.”

Maybe it’s because our damsel in distress doesn’t really care if we try to save her from the dragon. Maybe she even holds us back as we try to ward him off with our trusty pen-knife.

Case in point: I had a patient this week who changed her medication doses on her own, and when I asked her to show me her blood sugars from now on so I can guide her, didn’t feel that was necessary. Yet, when asked what she wanted of me, she said she wanted me to help her get her diabetes under good control. I’m not sure how if I don’t know what her blood sugars are and she doesn’t want me to change her doses.

Maybe it’s the constantly changing royal proclamations. Sure, rules and regulations are necessary, but oh so often they seem burdensome. The piles of paperwork, the phone calls, the prior auths, the pre-certs. Changes in this code and that code.

I often hear patients complain that their doctors seem like they don’t care. I don’t think it’s excusable, but I do understand. After years and years of pen-knife wielding for sometimes ungrateful townspeople, even the noblest knights can seem like boors.
 

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