the patient’s view- odd as it may seem

04/11/2009 at 5:09 AM 1 comment

This gentleman has been under my care for over 10 years. The notable thing is that he had a rare deadly cancer in his rectum, and although he undoubtedly was my patient before then, this is when I first remember him clearly. He is a rational,good humored, grounded person. Yet he remains agry at the surgeon that saved his life.

Seems odd to me. When the biopsy came back, it was indeed bad news, but the surgeon specializes in cancer surgery and he is very very good ( and surprisingly has a wonderful bedside manner). So he operated and they radiated and chemotherapized ™. And year after long year there were no recurrences. He passed the three year point without a recurrence and he came to me with a question. He thought the surgeon had messed up and was so angry he was considering suing him! It was hard to rationalize. 

What it comes down to is that he hates the colostomy. He can’t seem to get over it, or that it was a direct trade off with dying. Instead of the more common “why me?” he is stuck on “the surgeon screwed up”.

On the Kubler-Ross process he is stuck in the anger part. Not that unusual, it is that he blames the surgeon that I find odd. He came in for routine care just last week and he has not mentioned any of this for years, he seems happy and reconciled. I had a student and I mentioned to her some of the patient’s history and that he had been so angry. He added, “I still am.” and he meant it. 

Imagine a ten- year cancer survivor ( probably cured at this point. he is over 70 years old and likely to die of something else.) who is not grateful at all to the guy whose skill specifically was instrumental in getting him here. Odd. I suggested that his anger could be directed more reasonably elsewhere ( God, Karma, The world at large, His mother in  law–just kidding) but the has chosen his whipping boy and he is sticking to it.

He also still follows up with that surgeon on a regular basis. So perhaps his stated anger is more window dressing than reality. Or the more rational part of his brain realizes that despite everything, this surgeon is the man who he needs in case in comes back.


Entry filed under: true story. Tags: , , .

I need some help in here! Bad Night

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Mothers  |  04/11/2009 at 6:09 AM

    […] the patients view- odd as it may seem […]


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