When I Saw Things From My Child's Doctor's Perspective

There are moments that happen throughout your life that stick with you constantly and change your perspective. About six months ago, one of those moments happened to me. My son was sick with a respiratory virus that just wouldn’t go away, so I brought him into the local urgent care facility. Nobody was in the waiting room besides us at that point, and we had been waiting at least an hour. I was annoyed. My child was crying because he didn’t feel well. He just wanted to go home, and so did I. I complained to the receptionist like it was her fault for the long wait time, when I knew it wasn’t. Then it happened. The moment that will forever be engrained in my mind — the moment I realized I’m a selfish human being.

A lady walked out from behind the doors I so desperately wanted to be behind with my child. She walked to a waiting room chair with tears streaming down her face, followed by a dozen or so of her family and friends. It was one of those moments you feel you shouldn’t be watching because it’s so deeply personal, but you can’t tear your eyes away. Minutes later, a doctor walked out and put his arm around this lady with tear-filled eyes as well and started conversing with the lady’s family.

Not too long after that, we were called back. The doctor walked in; he was the same doctor delivering what I assumed was bad news to the lady in the waiting room. Except the doctor now had a big smile on his face for my son. No tears in sight. He told the best jokes to my son and had him laughing — doing everything in his power to put a smile on my sick guy’s face. I kept zoning in and out during some of the appointment, stuck in my thoughts, and feeling guilty over my impatience and the bad thoughts I was having towards this provider and hospital.

The thing is, I’ve been the patient receiving bad news. I’ve been the patient holding up doctors’ offices and ERs because my life was on the line. I knew better, and I acted out selfishly. But maybe I needed to witness someone else’s moment to really grasp what really goes on in a hospital. It definitely wasn’t what I imagined.

I want to say this to every single doctor: I see you now. I admire your strength, the strength it must take to flip like a switch and be what each patient needs you to be. You are the shoulder for the patient who just received life-altering news, the jokester for a child who needs an extra smile, and an ear for the person who has anxiety or depression and needs reassurance everything is going to be OK. I can’t imagine what it’s like to tell one person their world is about to change, and go into another room smiling, like it didn’t just happen — without having a moment to yourself to process those emotions.

That day forever changed my perspective. It has stuck with me every time I’ve gone to the doctor since and had to wait more than 10 minutes for an appointment. Hospitals and clinics aren’t fast food restaurants, and I personally tend to forget this in life’s fast pace. But what I won’t forget is there’s a reason for the wait, and that every person deserves every single minute of that doctor’s time.

Follow this journey on Brock’s World.

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