“Parang nasasakal”. Chest heaviness. Cold and clammy. Shortness of breath. This is a patient’s narrative of a very scary experience.
And that patient was ME.
I was on my way home when I suddenly felt bad. Am I having a heart attack? Oh no, too young to exit! I was contemplating whether I should bring myself to the emergency room.
The patient in me was in a denial stage saying, “I could be okay in a while.” The doctor in me was already making a diagnosis. “ If this is a heart attack, I only have a few minutes. Going back to the hospital from the house could mean its too late. “
And so I decided to bring myself in. Lying down on a stretcher, I was given oxygen by cannula. I kept on sitting up because I was very anxious. Will I end up in ICU? More than that, will I make it through? I see the people around me, their faces familiar but it does not relax me a bit. ECG was done. Blood was extracted for cardiac enzymes.
I was wheeled to the cardiovascular lab on a wheel chair for 2D echo. This was my scariest experience ever.
Hey this time, I was on the other side of the bed rail!
It’s a very strange feeling to be the one lying on the bed instead of the one lording over it. It was humbling to be wheeled around the same hallways I walked on everyday. My first time to ride a wheel chair too! It was terrifying to wait what my attending doctors would tell me about my tests.
After this experience, I have greater respect for the patients who is in every inch vulnerable, scared and probably feeling helpless lying on the stretcher.
I have better appreciation of the patients who chose to put their vulnerability on our hands.
I had greater understanding of what they truly needed from me as their doctor…because I have walked in their shoes.
Any “walk” you wish to share?
Walk in your patient’s shoes. Your understanding will never be the same.
PS. The diagnosis was GERD. I was having coffee more than I should. Blame it on the coffee recipe tasting I was doing for a project.