Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Difficult Patient

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15, ESV).

I spotted him on my list and dreaded the visit. Every time he comes, he has nothing but complaints about how bad his life is. Part of the reason his life is so bad are the health issues that come from his failure to take my medicines and stop his drinking. He is an angry man. His anger makes my whole day unpleasant.
I took a deep breath and entered the examining room. He sat there crying. His mother had just died.

Certainly we have patients, or friends, who cause us to groan a bit when we see them coming, and we have those who surprise us with their anger or inappropriate behavior. We also care for patients and friends who may behave appropriately but whose personality grates against our own, simply because we view life differently.
Some people are more difficult to care for than others but none are less important.
We have cool drugs that put some malignancies into remission with a simple prescription but some tumors require complex, multidisciplinary management. Just so, some people are a cinch to deal with, while others require hard work. 
Whole person health is our business, both in the office and in the world, with the entire person-package of disease, personality, education, income, spirit, relations and emotions. Just as there are skills to gain in order to manage disease, there are skills to gain that will help us manage these other aspects of whole person care. We should seek to improve our performance in these areas through courses and literature and counsel with our mentors. We should develop support systems within our offices, using ancillary personnel to provide the additional time necessary to assist our difficult patients.  
And, as Christians, we need to remind ourselves that Jesus did not die only for nice people. The foundation of our care for difficult persons should be the blood that flowed on Golgotha for difficult people like you and me.

Dear God,
Let me show others the grace you have shown me, in word and in action.

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