family practice issues and general life events

Posts tagged ‘attitude’

Attitude is everything

Or my self serving whiny post, which does nothing, teaches nothing, and is merely in existence for no other reason than it makes me feel better.

Sometimes I have days like today. Where when I walk into the room, and ask the patient how they are doing, and today is the worst day of their life. If it is one or two, well that is well not ok, but feasible, because at some point you will have the worst day of your life. This morning however, it seemed like it was everyone’s worst day ever. It improved somewhat this afternoon, in that only half of the patients were having their worst day ever, the rest just have multitudes of complaints

In reality, dealing with a couple patients who view everyday as the worse day ever is tiring, a whole morning is exhausting and mind numbing. It is enough to wish for a fully stocked bar in the office. (I said wish, I rarely drink, so much more that a glass or two of wine would make for a bad idea, especially in the middle of the morning, er I mean the afternoon.

Anyway, it is in those patients you realize how important one’s attitude is to their health. Patients who believe that everyday is terrible never seem to be getting better, and while it might be my doctoring skills, I have patients that seem to improve. So that gives me some hope for my skills. I have patients who have their diabetes under control, their blood pressure looks good, and sometimes walk in and say “I am all better.”

And then there is the others. The ones that despite running ALL the possible tests, you still cannot find a reason for their worst day ever, which by the way is worse than their previous visit that was also the worst day ever. They have pain that is a 12 on a 10 point scale where 10 is being caught on fire currently. And then the mention a random surgery were half of the bowels were removed 15 years ago, that they forgot to mention previously. (Not really, pretty sure I would have seen that scar) But there are unmentioned surgeries, medications, and dietary factors that they neglect to mention. Or other doctors that are prescribing medication. (Sometimes the same medication and sometimes one causing side effects that you are treating.)

And then when you do the workup for a condition, you find out that even though their symptoms scream gallstones, they had that removed 5 years ago, and well they didn’t think it was important to mention. I mean after all they no longer have that organ so how can it be the problem? Though I have been told that they didn’t mention it, because they thought that it might have grown back.

Back to the attitude mentioned in the title. Those with an overall positive outlook in life really do seem to heal better, they are healthier. They try, they are not hoping for a magic pill to cure all. And some of them have significant medical diseases. They have the belief that things can get better, that there is something in life worth living for. And they are living life. This does not mean that they don’t have pain. They may, they might not, but they are trying to experience and live. There is some purpose to their lives.

It is not that they don’t have pain in their lives, some have significant tragedies. Death of spouse, child, fighting disease, but they are looking for a greater meaning. They accept that bad things happen, and maybe just maybe these events help you to appreciate the good times. The understand the need to experience everything that life has to offer. And just by seeing them, you feel better. They make your world better just by them being in it.

Attitude is not the end all, cure all. But it is a necessary component to improve one’s life. It helps with healing, it helps to give strength and motivation. It is what makes one successful in life.

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Attitude makes all the difference

As I look all over social media today, I am noticing a pattern.  Well two patterns in one.  There are those that are hopeful and those that are not.  These are people I know from various times in my life, and ones that I know only online.  People I see everyday, some that I have never seen and others that I used to see.  Apparently 2011 really sucked and was the best year ever.  2012 is a time for change, for growth, and to stay the same.  Or maybe it is just a year that won’t “suck as bad as the one just finished.”  I am not trying to judge.  I don’t live their lives.  I don’t have their challenges,  but at the same time I wonder, wonder if maybe just attempting to be happier they would be.

This is not for everyone.  Some have lived tragedy that I don’t even want to imagine.  Yet, many of those attempt to be as positive as they can be.  Whether it is for their children, for their friends, or maybe it is the only way they can get through life.  

Others common everyday problems are a major catastrophe.  The dog vomited on the floor and they stepped in it in the middle of the dark is proof that the world is a terrible place.  (Stepped in dog vomit myself, not pleasant, but it is life.)  And maybe that is an unfair oversimplification, but most of you know the type of person I am talking about.  And all of us, are sometimes that way.  But really if everything is a super tragedy, what happens when a real tragedy struck.

Last night was New Year’s Eve, and I went to bed at 10 pm.  Real party animal, but my husband was working in the Emergency Room and I had two adorable boys to take care of and frankly watching the ball dropped lost its thrill a while ago.  So I stayed in.

I live a life of privilege.  It is hard to justify complaining some days, when I know others that have it much worse.  I work for what I have, and holidays are not a given.  Sometimes I have to miss out on school events for my kids, in order to take care of my patients in the office.  And while I don’t take call, my husband does as well as pulling shifts in the ER to help make up for the debt accumulated in medical school and starting a business.  And all of this allows us to take trips where we want.  And to enjoy things in life, that I never experienced before becoming a doctor 

New years tends to be a day for reflection and introspection.  A chance for a new start and a clean slate.  And maybe it should be, but maybe without the expectation that just because the ball dropped at midnight, everything is now shiny and new.  Wars, sickness, disease and your day to day problems do not go away just because the clock strikes midnight.  While it is a great thing to be hopeful for the new year, it should not be done with false expectations.  Life can be good if we let it, but often the best things in life take hard work and determination to achieve.  Being lucky usually requires hard work and determination to make it so you can be in the right place for that luck to happen.

And a lot does ride on your attitude.  People who are confident with their abilities tend to be more successful.  Those who look at setbacks not as failures, but at learning experiences see to be able to achieve more, to overcome more.  While there is nothing wrong with prayers and hopes and dreams, failure to act with those will not lead you to success.  Wishing without determination or drive will keep you where you are.  

So my hopes for all, is for a happy New Year.  I hope it is everything that you wish for it to be.  I hope it is a year that you achieve your goals or at least take the steps that you need to start achieving them.  Remember sometimes success is measured in single steps not miles.  As I write this I am watching my youngest go around the house in the new skates he got for Christmas, learning to balance and picking out what toy he wants to play with next.  For him anything in the world is possible, you only have to dream.  And then go after it on roller skates.  

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