yellow painted industrial lights on the Eiffel Tower.

He was rude and ugly and had been since the day I met him for the first time… three days prior. I listened to his symptoms and looked at his jaundiced face and I knew. 

I knew.

The whole visit he was antagonistic, questioning my every move, downright insulting me at times, telling me that I did not know what I was doing. I wanted to yell at him to shut up and be nice, to just let me help him, but I knew that he knew that I knew he was dying. 

Bullying me made him feel as if he still had power. 

“I have your results, sir. They confirm what I suspected.”

“You are a stupid bitch.”

I am so very afraid.

“I know this is not something you want to hear and for that I am sorry. Let me set you up with an oncologist and they will take it from here…”


111 thoughts on “Yellowed

    • There are so many really great physicians who do this every day and don’t write about it. I like to provide a window into what goes on behind the white coat but it is important for people to understand that I am not anything special. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 3 people

      • We are all special in our own little way, of course ๐Ÿ™‚ But I know what you mean. People do not realise the everyday crap faced by doctors, nurses, cops and such and it really is important that they DO know. It is so easy to criticise when they don’t have the first clue of what the reality is. I applaud you for it.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’m must slightly disagree..

        The other many great doctors and you are something special and have become more of a rarity today..

        A compassionate bedside manner is not as common as it should be considering the profession itself is all about healing people when possible and managing symptoms and pain..


  1. I’m genuinely curious… Having to tell a patient that they are going to die or that they have an illness that may take away their life… Over the years of practice, does handling a situation like this ever get easier?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ACK! Damn enter button.
    Out of their control. I apologize when i bite the heads off of the drs that are there to help because i know it isn’t they’re fault. Medicine is not an exact science. If it were, it would be called math, would it not?
    Here’s to a doctor that always does her best ๐Ÿท

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Damn. I know from my own experience it’s easy to be upset at doctors and nurses. My mom was diagnosed with brain cancer in July of 2015. The lack of “knowing” ate away on us – we didn’t get to know this or that, because they didn’t have the answers either. It’s easy to be upset and rude then, but we never aired that to the doctors… It’s not their fault, after all. But it’s easy to resort to anger when you feel so much fear.

    Still, fear doesn’t excuse being rude…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yikes! Does this ever bring back memories. When my husband was fighting cancer and we were making the rounds of different doctors the most heartbreaking was the Hospice team and doctors. Oh my gosh, the compassion they showed us was totally amazing. My husband was still mad at his situation but that they were able to keep their compassion in dealing with such a difficult situation, numerous times a day, showed in the way they treated us and was helpful. You have such a hard job and I nominate you super hero that you are able to keep your compassion facing the difficult situations you deal with all day long.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. To me that’s quite possibly one of the worst diagnoses to make ever (that is, if my gut saying it was pancreatic CA is right). Never easy to break the news. You’re really strong, patient, and understanding, Victo โค

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My grandmother was like that. Well, she might not have called you a stupid bitch. But she would have been rude and ugly. She told the priest that came to pray with her to, Go to hell. Get out and don’t let the doorknob hit you on the way out.”

    Illness did not cause this. It was just how she was.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rough one Victo – dying seems the one exception when we are willing to put up with any verbal abuse. I had the happenstance of seeing some very ill children at the hospital a while back and they were eerily quiet. You could sense them withdrawing form the world. On the way out the main entrance later that evening there was a young family with a three year old girl. The little one was insisting on walking herself and she was wailing and screaming at the top of her lungs. Her parents were embarrassed and tried shushing her to no avail. I just smiled and thought – What healthy lungs.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I would hope that if I ever receive a terminal diagnosis, I will be able to handle it with grace. But who knows? Fear, frustration and helplessness might make me just as nasty at that old man. God bless oncology doctors, hospice nurses, and anyone else who has to deal with terminal patients. I know I couldn’t do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They do manifest as inappropriate behavior.I try to remember that when someone seems to be trying to drive me off the road. Maybe their significant other is ill and they need to get to the hospital fast? I don’t know. I just get out of the way…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We have a son, who lost a kidney
    cancer. Through the months of chemo & radiation. He was handled gently by every doctor & oncology nurse in a children’s hospital. The very worst side effects to every drug happened.
    He has fully recovered 25 year out.
    He has run 5 NYC marathons, is married. The greatest blessing were his two young sons.
    It isn’t always been, and we were so grateful for his great care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That post needs to be edited. It was a wilms tumor, at the time in children under the age of 4 it was considered deadly. Dave was a freshman in college when he lost that kidney. His protocol was aggressive. 25 years later he is
      healthy, married with two sons.
      And has run 5 NYC marathons.
      He was truly gifted with the best care we could find at the time.
      These stories are not always with such good results. They are encouraging to some who are suffering with cancer.


  10. I would have wanted to reply, “Sir, I am not stupid.” and let him figure out the rest. I tell my newbies, it is not you they are mad at, it is the disease. But still. It is hard, especially when you are trying to be nice. And your right, they need to teach some sort of class on this protocol.
    “How to deal with Assholes 101”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I once had someone tell me that when you take it personally you make it all about you and that is the height of arrogance. “What makes you think you are that important?” Made sense to me. That bit of knowledge has made many things a lot easier over the years. I won’t claim to be able to approach everything in my life this way, though. Just some things. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hanging on to that last shred of control is quite sad. I wonder what he was like after he walked out of your office. I would say that this particular patient was most likely coping to the best of his ability but at the same time I doubt that he would have spoken to a male MD in the same manner.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. He was sick. He was dying. He probably was in every kind of pain you can imagine. He was probably afraid to his core. And angry.

    I cared for both my parents throughout their long slow deaths from cancer. Were they sometimes short-tempered, rude, less than loving? Angry? Yes. I knew how painful and frustrating and frightening it was for me to watch them face death. How does anyone know how to die? How do we know how to let go of life?

    But I also knew that I was only seeing it from the outside. They were living it every moment, every day, every breath that drew them closer to the end.

    It wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about some petty expectation to be treated as politely as I treated them.

    And it was impossible to hold their shortcomings against them.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: My Article Read (4-19-2016) – My Daily Musing

  14. Cancer is never an easy diagnosis to accept but one cannot blame the messenger. I have had to hear that dx also but am grateful that the outcome so far has been good. On another personal note, Husband has a female primary physician at the VA clinic and he is pleased with her.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I can’t imagine treating a doc like that even when some docs have been horrible to me. I guess we all have our ways of coping though. My way is humour and joking with my docs. And that’s when I got bad news just over a week ago. Laughter is so healing.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It is so hard sometimes…
    I find myself resenting the time, effort, energy, and resources we pour into ungrateful souls.
    Then I remember- sometimes ungrateful souls can be everything to some other unfortunate person.

    It’s hard though. I find myself wanting to come down to their level and spew the venom back in their face… Obviously, I don’t. I save that for my fantasies.

    Nice piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Some of the worst atrocities have been caused by the age-old human trait , “who can I blame?”, when life isn’t what you want it to be.

    Liked by 1 person

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