April 24, 2008

MedZag: Socially Isolated, Unloved Medical Student

So we recently had a series of sessions on "breaking bad news." The scenario we focused on was trying to tell a woman that she had leukemia - the crux of the series being that from the moment you break the bad news, Joanne goes from simply being "Joanne" to "Joannne: Leukemia Patient," until the point she becomes "Joanne: Leukemia Survivor" or "Joanne: Leukemia Victim." She will never be able to remove herself from that moment when the word "leukemia" comes out of your sorry mouth. It will forever come to define who she is and who she will be, and be a part of her from that moment on. Truly thought-provoking stuff. With all the reverence given to such a serious subject, I began to think of other correlary conversations that are equally life changing:

"Mom and dad, I'm gay."
Jenny goes from being "Jenny" to "Jenny: The Black Sheep"

"I'm sorry we didn't tell you sooner Betsy, but, you're adopted."
Betsy goes from being "Betsy" to "Betsy: Unloved Child"

"Joe, I love you." "WTF Brock?!?"
Joe goes from being "Joe" to "Joe: Object Of Man Crush"

"Suzie, I have something to tell you. Your mother, she is also your sister."
Suzie goes from being "Suzie" to "Suzie: At Risk Of A Plethora Of Consanguinous-Related Genetic Disorders"

I could offer some real and meaningful insights now about the difficulty and anxiety associated with difficult bad-news conversations, but for now I think I'll just ride the funny wave.

1 comment:

Tony said...

Just started reading the blog. Love it. I'm on hold currently at OSHU (May 15th can't come any sooner!). I'll have to read the rest of your posts. Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the time you've taken to let me and others get an idea about what med school is all about.