Every Memory Has Value

Memories - kMITRA

Have you ever noticed that when an experience ends in a sour note, our first instinct is to try to erase it’s memory as if it never existed in the first place? We attempt to block any recollection of the event as if to protect ourselves from the pain. Sometimes we go as far as to rewrite history to attempt to make ourselves feel better about the whole thing or to justify our decision in the end. I think that we do this in order to regain control and shield ourselves from the bad experience, thus taking away it’s power and impact. This is what we tell ourselves at least. However, I feel like the exact opposite is true. Every experience, good or bad, has value and a take away point. Most experiences that end badly were not truly 100% bad, or we wouldn’t have engaged with that experience to begin with. Nobody is that masochistic. I think that by expending the mental energy to rewrite history or deny any good memories that were also associated with it, we are actually granting more power to the bad part of the experience than it deserves. We are actually chaining ourselves to that negativity and becoming an essential part of the bad experience. We are discounting our own credibility in our judgement regarding what we chose to participate in. By allowing ourselves to acknowledge any positive aspects as well, we truly begin to free ourselves from that negativity and realize that, whatever the experience was, it wasn’t just a waste of our time to begin with. Have a fantastic day everybody!

Dr. Katz

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I heard this this morning from one of my hysterectomy patients in pre op. She came in wearing a sweatshirt with this quippy saying ironed on the front of it. She wanted to make sure that I could see it. It literally made my day and we both laughed out loud. I truly treasure these moments when a patient and I are able to laugh and joke right before major surgery. I applaud her for her sense of humor. On top of that, this particular patient has been going through some major life stuff lately. In my mind, the fact that she stayed on track with taking care of herself and following through with surgery makes her even more bad ass. I completely respect that. Also, her facility for humor tells me that I have been able to achieve a level of comfort for this patient that actually allows her to make jokes before saying goodbye to one of her main organs. She is able to balance her nervousness with the necessity of her decision. That can only be achieved with extensive counselling, back and forth discussion, establishment of comfortable rapport, and making it a priority to allow the patient to take an active role in the decision-making process regarding her own body. There is nothing that engenders feelings of hopeless and loss of control like someone telling you that you need to be put to sleep and have things done to you that will change you forever. That is huge in my book. Think about the trust that you need to have in your doctor to relinquish that ultimate level of control! It’s hard to fathom really. I think we as physicians need to embrace that humbling fact at the beginning of each and every case that we do. It’s a way to appreciate the patient’s trust, keep yourself in check and remind yourself of your responsibility as a physician and a surgeon. Have a fantastic day everyone!

Dr. Katz