Today, a patient has verbally abused me. There, let’s start with that to finally let it all out. There were a lot of things I wish I said had I not been too shocked to react; but, I’m glad and proud too that I haven’t spoken more than what I should have. At least one of us need not stoop that low. Only a coward would prey on someone whom he thinks he has most power over at.
He was feeding off of my confusion at the situation. There I was, happily starting my day expecting I’d be somehow of help to someone who is ill or has concerns but all I got are shouts, complaints and what-have-you’s on things I do not even have control over. There was even a point between his banters and finger-pointing wherein I really think he could’ve hit me just to channel his frustration and anger. I don’t know, maybe yes, I could’ve imagined that but I couldn’t help but be thankful that I was out of arm’s reach, and somehow more elevated than where he was – sitting on his bed. All I could ever think of is withholding my tears just to not let him have that final victory over me. I have encountered a handful of difficult people in my life but this has definitely been a first. What hurt most was despite his irate demeanor, I was really trying my best to know what ails him to be somehow of help, and yet, he mocked me, pointed at me and shouted at me as if he owned me. What right does a person have to treat another as if s/he is an object that have just been bought?
It is humbling and degrading at the same time, to be honest. Being a part of the healthcare team has its highs and lows. I guess this is the side of service provision we cannot totally will away. We can never really predict how each and every person react to certain situations and no matter how fulfilling this career is, there are and will always be unreasonable people out there. So just a little reminder, folks, Horton couldn’t have put it any more precisely: