As you get older you learn things, hard things that you don’t want to believe. Things you wish you did not know. Things you always thought could not be true. Until it’s hard, cold reality. Injustice. Illness. Loss.
Good thing too, younger people are not ready to face some of the really hard lessons of life. I wasn’t. It’s easy to see why harsh lessons learned early leave such terrible scars. Why people never recover. Now that I have some hint of the truth, I’m glad I didn’t know. Bad enough I know now.
What I know now is about what happens when medicine fails you. Cuts ties and walks away. No call or goodbye, even in the best, closest, most longstanding relationships. When the end comes physicians head for the hills.
It’s as if once there is nothing more to be done (gained) and death is closing in, doctors move on to the next case. To charm a new patient and family, to get them to believe you can do what you say, that there are no unknowns. That you never guess or make mistakes. To make promises patients and families are desperate to believe.
By the time they know what I know, years will have passed. Success will come, as will setbacks that you’ll explain away with confidence. By the time things start going bad, it will be too late to change course. Too late to do anything but face alone what’s coming and wish you’d not given such respect, such veneration, such trust to the person with that MD at the end of their name.
It’s only when medicine fails that you become aware of how truly alone you are. Life and Death are not within the control of modern medicine, big name hospitals and promising clinical trials. The hands that hold these precious things are unseen and work on their own time. In their own way.
Don’t let modern medicine, with all its fancy airs and bright promises, distract you from that hard, cold truth.
Doctor’s do care, but not in the way you think. Maybe it’s part of the training or comes after you do this job for some measure of time. They care about success. About life. The end of that life makes them uncomfortable, a failure they don’t want to acknowledge or address. Would you?