I sit at the front desk at my office. I am out in the open with full access (and listening distance) to patients' families. Some of the stories I hear make me ill, make me laugh and make me cry.
I work in oncology...this is NOT a fun disease.
The ones that make me ill are the family members who don't care what the patient wants, they are going to drive this patient to kingdom come and back because they aren't ready to let go yet, but the patient is just done fighting and wants to go home. The other ones that make me ill are the patients who don't care who they offend, they are who they are (which I respect to a point!) and are going to tell dirty jokes to their grown daughter and since he's hard of hearing, will ANNOUNCE THEM TO THE WORLD.
The ones that make me laugh are my patients who come in, and with their cute little bald heads shining (if they've just finished chemo) will tell me jokes, laugh about stupid things going on in the world and their family members who sit in my waiting room, waiting for their friend or family member.
The cases that make me cry, are the parents of the 13 year old who is back for his FOURTH round of accelerated radiation, the little old married couple who are in their 90's and she's trying to stay strong while the love of her life is fighting for his. (They are also one of the cutest couples you will ever meet.)
I have heard everything from the traditional small talk "(insert descriptor here) weather we're having!", "oh that's a nice bag!", "what are you making?" (many folks bring some kind of craft to keep themselves busy) to the more serious, when they discuss a patient's progress or how they have been responding to treatments.
I consider myself lucky to be where I am at. I have a daily appreciation for the life that I have. I try to make a concerted effort to make any patient's appointment, setup, or treatment as easy as possible, it's the least that little ol' me can do in this crazy time of their lives. Plus...happy doctor + happy patients = no drama. Well, I take that back...there's always drama...there's just less of it if you keep the other two happy!