Saturday, November 15, 2008

Soft Spot for Crutches

In follow-up to the last post I published and as a response to's one post that I wrote previously after holding a door for someone with a cane...Seemed to fit in here.

I'm not sure exactly how this is going to sound...but I have a soft spot for anyone with a 'mobility aid'. Walking into my apartment right now I just held the door for an elderly woman walking with a cane. I wonder if that's empathy working within me? Do I have a better understanding of the pain that necessitates crutches and the disability that requires a wheelchair because of my close association with people who live with musculoskeletal pathology.

My big question is: Does this translate across medical specialties? Does a dermatologist really feel for people with bad acne and eczema? Can a respirologist really empathize with the air hunger of an asthmatic patient?

I guess that I'm lucky in my profession. It's easier to empathize with pain. We've all had varying degrees of that symptom. All this begs the question of other professions and their similar empathy stories...

Does a banker feel the anguish of debt and financial ruin? Can a plumber empathize with flood victims? Does a teacher hang their head with the student who fails a test?

I don't even know if all doctors feel the same empathy that I do. That being said, I am going to continue to preferentially treat hobbling people with the respect that they deserve, both inside the hospital and without.

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