Thursday, January 09, 2014

Inpatient vs. Impatient

Yesterday, I put up a status on Face Book:

"Early in my career I dealt mostly with inpatients.
Now I deal with a lot of impatience."

It drew less than a dozen responses, but the interesting thing is how each respondent personalized the concept and in their own context responded.  Some, at least one, suspected I was referring to my own personal impatience, while others thought I was referring to the impatience of others; i.e. surgeons, staff, administrators, patients, etc..  While I, also, can find a case for each of these interpretations, none apply to the thought process behind my status saying at the time.

For the most part, I'd say I'm a patient guy.  I'm no yogi guru or Buddhist priest, but in general I;m most often a patient person.  So that motive can be eliminated.  What, then, prompted me to make that statement?  It seems that I do some of my best thinking or creative word construction (poetry) in the moments just before awakening or in the shower.  Such was the case yesterday; not while waking but in the shower.

Six months ago or so, I began to feel pain in my shoulder.  It was ever present but I could still function adequately.  Doing shoulder exercises became more and more painful requiring ever more decreases in the amount of weight I could use in doing my exercises.  I mentioned this on a casual occasion with the owner/manager of the gym I workout in.  He is a Physical therapist and he did some tests and confirmed what I had already suspected; impingement syndrome.  He suggested some exercises for me to do and which I dutifully employed.

I was not inclined to seek surgical intervention.  Thinking of a knee injury a few years ago associated with running, that I self diagnosed as a torn meniscus, I said then: " I have faith in the bodies ability to heal itself, I'll wait this out and it'll get better.  It took a good six months but get better it did and I'm back running again.

So, yesterday in the shower I realize that I can reach across my upper body, with the arm that has plagued me, with out discomfort.  Reflecting, I realized that that had been the case for the previous three days.

My point?  In many cases minor discomforts and injuries can and will correct themselves (heal) given adequate time and care.  With a positive mind set and faith in the bodies abilities, proper nutrition and resting of the part injured the body will make itself whole given time.  To be sure there are more than a few times where surgical and medical intervention are necessary to save life and limb; ruptured aneurysm, cancer, long bone fractures, compound ankle fractures like those sustained while jumping from a bridge while mental ability is impaired by alcohol, etc.

But in far to many cases, in my opinion, medical/surgical intervention is sought because of the injured's impatience.  Not so much in the "olden" days when patients were admitted to hospital one or two days in advance for work-up and remained in-hospital for a week or more recuperating.

With the advent of one-day surgery, come-in-go-home same day surgery, the amount of patience exhibited by patients has diminished accordingly.  If you have medical insurance it goes something like this:  I want it fixed now, AND I want somebody else to pay for it.


Blogger Helena said...

I cope with impatience fairly well. I find passing time - especially in long journeys - quite a structured and enjoyable experience.

My hubby refrains from seeking medical help for minor ailments and injuries. Not that he feels bad about bothering the doctor but more for the reason that he can moan about it longer....!

4:33 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

I agree with your sentiments, Bob. I'm not the most patient person in the world in certain instances, but I do believe with what you're saying here and exercise similar restraint. (Not the exercise...the restraint)! ;)

I rarely go to doctors...very rarely.

3:54 PM  

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