Doctors have a reputation for whining and complaining.
Long before I became a doctor myself, I used to listen in amazement to doctors I knew complaining about managed care (too controlling) … money (not making enough) … legal fears (overly litigious patients) … not having enough time to play golf as often as they’d like … and so on.
Eligible subjects for complaint ranged from common topics to individual objections du jour.
They included the weather (too hot or too cold), representatives in Congress (too lazy, seriously misguided, corrupt) — even the free food in the doctor’s lounge (not enough variety, too much or too little meat, too bland and uninspired) was fair game.
The fact is, you could always count on good old doctor so-and-so to complain about something long and passionately to anyone who would listen for as long as they were willing to listen. Until their ears fell off, if they were that committed to martyrdom.
As a journalist, I tapped into doctor discontent and wrote many excellent articles, for which I was paid handsomely. I never had to worry about the supply of subject matter drying up. The well ran deep.
Now these same whining doctors held privileged positions in society. Not only did they have a very good standard of living compared to most “non-doctor” folks but they were also revered and respected. They could diagnose, treat and heal us. So when I was not one of them, their complaints often seemed largely unfounded, even frivolous.
Now that I am one of them, it’s different. As a doctor myself, I deal with patients on the “front lines” of care on a regular basis. I can certainly empathize with all those complaints that I used to listen to with such a skeptical ear. In fact, I have been transformed into one of those complaining doctors myself. I’m a master kvetch, an honorary lifetime member of the Complaining Doctor Club.
Most people who are not medical practitioners haven’t a clue why doctors complain so much. They think doctors have it pretty good. What’s to complain about? Well, Virginia, sad to say, but there really isn’t a Santa Claus — and it’s far from cool being a doctor.
So is there any help for a petulant, whiny doctor like me?
Absolutely. The solution is a compassion pill.