I haven't, nor will i ever, run around advertising my current relationship status. It is a painful situation to be in- causing a mix of emotions that for the most part....... make me feel numb. For those of you who know me know what is going on. For those who don't, you can just assume the worst but hope for the best.
I am however, very honest with my patients. And although i might not be the brightest physician and might never have hundreds of publications or be known internationally, i do connect with my patients personally- tell them things about me and my life- especially if it helps them with their illnesses. Or even if it is just to make them laugh. Or feel better. A lot of patients know about my history of an eating disorder. Others know about me being a teenage mother. Others (a few) know about my relationship status.
Now the ones that know about my relationship status....it is few and far between....but let me tell you, they like to give dating and romance advice.
For example, my 70 year old VA patient told me that i need to find someone that will "make my toes curl."
I swear to the good lord he said that.
Even better- let me set the scene in which he told me this- we were in my "office." He is overweight, wearing oxygen, driving a motorized scooter. And he is straight country- from Walterboro. And has been married for 43 years- his wife is currently in assisted living and he stays at their home with their dogs. I love that he told me to find someone that will "make my toes curl." It is so real. So honest.
My other patient wasn't privy to me telling her about my relationship- she just overheard me talking with Bronch ladies and telling them my sad story. Approximately 2 minutes before putting a needle into her lung to drain off fluid she told me; "Here is my advice. Marry for love. Don't marry for money. Don't marry beneath you. Marry for love."
The next day was her birthday. I had told her that i wanted to bring her a little bottle of champagne but was worried that it was against the hospital rules. Instead i brought her a small red velvet cake. It matched the roses she had received from her boyfriend. I don't think she ate the cake.....i hope she did but she was really weak......and died 2 days later.
Again, i have to say, i love my patients. I learn so much from them- not just about their disease processes (which i hate that they have but i do learn a lot)..... but i learn about compassion, honesty, humility, courage.....so many things. And when i think that life is hard and i feel numb, i think about my patients and the memories i will forever have because of what they tell me.