Things I would say to my patients if I changed my perspective.
I suppose blood running from your nose is terrifying, especially if it’s never happened before. Is that why you come to casualty for a simple nosebleed?
It must feel strange to have to take medication when you don’t feel sick. Is that why you stop taking your blood pressure meds?
Are you afraid of what your friends and family will say when they see your ARVs? Is that why you don’t take them? Or what the community will say when they see you visiting the TB clinic?
You obviously love your child so much. Losing them probably terrifies you. Is that why you bring her in for every snotty nose?
You love your 92 year old Granny just as much, and don’t feel ready to let go, so you take her to the doctor every time she feels a little weak.
You twisted your ankle and you know it’s not broken, but it’s painful and you can’t afford buy something over the counter. I assume you want an X-ray but all you really want from me is something for pain right?
The last time you came to the hospital with the flu the doctor didn’t explain to you that it will go away by itself and you don’t need an antibiotic. Is that why you still come to the hospital with every cold?
You were just walking home from a party when someone stabbed you for you wallet. It wasn’t your fault, even if you had a few drinks. At least you didn’t drive home drunk.
You did go to the clinic to clean your burn wounds but they sent you away because they were too busy. Is that why you’re coming to me now with septic wounds?
You’re only a child and you made a mistake and now you’re having a child of your own. No one prepared you for child birth. Is that why you are fighting me when I am just trying to help you?
It costs you a significant portion of your salary to travel to and from the clinic and you have your children and your children’s children to feed. I know you’d rather put them first. Is that why you didn’t follow up like we planned?
You must feel so vulnerable and exposed, lying there, waiting for me to examine you. A stranger. Is that why you look so nervous?
I probably look like I’m in such a rush. Moving patients along like a factory worker. Next.
I’m sorry. I am tired. I am overworked. I am under pressure.
I see the world from my side of the desk. From the right hand side of the bed, looking down.
I am sorry. I will try and see things from your perspective.