A commenter on my last post, Claire Marie O’Brian, pointed out that doctors make judgements, too.
She is absolutely right. I am guilty. I raise my hand and hang my head in shame.
We all do it, in fact.
For instance, have you sat across the table from a dermatologist in a brightly lit restaurant? Look, you are my friend but I know your are thinking about how much Botox I need…
So, just as patients are judging me, I am judging them. I have only a few precious minutes to figure out how best to reach them, how to gain their trust.
Should I laugh more? Change my vocabulary? Slow down my speech? Should I talk about your hoo-hah or your vagina?
I am trying to figure out if they are lying to me about risky behaviors. Or omitting things like erectile dysfunction or incontenance because they are embarrassed.
Are they drug seeking?
Doctors aren’t the only ones, though. We are all of us, every human being on this earth, making judgements about other people based on their appearances, even if we think we are not. I am fairly certain that there is no way to turn that off completely.
The key, however, is that I must always remain open to the possibility that I might be wrong.
Often I am.
Patients have taught me this time and time again. People that I absolutely hated at their first visit have become some of my favorite patients. Staff members that I thought would never work out have turned out to be some of my best employees.
This, this is the beauty of humanity! Sometimes it just takes time and patience to have it show through.