Christmas time

Christmas time is amazing. People try to be nicer. Families get together. Time for a short break and reflection on life.

It gets harder for people who have been diagnosed with cancer and are on treatment. I try my best to give people a break over this time, time to get away from the hospital setting, time to be with family and friends, time to recover from side effects of treatment, time to relook at life.

There are several people who are admitted to hospital and unfortunately cannot be discharged home for a variety of reasons. The idea is to give them a break for a few hours to have Christmas lunch at home.

The saddest thing is when people are just diagnosed with cancer and need more investigations and reviews; and so many services or people are on leave. These patients and families are upset and frustrated. It does not really help them, when I explain that waiting for a few days will not make a huge difference in the bigger scheme of things. They want something done now. I can understand them.

What about people who know that this is their last Christmas on earth? It is important to tell people to enjoy their time with families and loved ones, not just for the patient, but also for the loved ones who will cherish the memories.

I continue to be amazed at the generosity of my patients – who will gift me and the team with cards, chocolates, gifts and so on. There are people who take the time to thank other members of the team (who are forgotten otherwise) – cleaners, support staff, pharmacy, reception staff, etc.

I love this time of the year. It brings a joy to most people. It also helps us understand that Jesus is the reason for the season.

Angry Patients

One of the most intimidating experiences is to be confronted by an angry patient and their family/friends. They might be upset about the long waiting time or the services or whatever. Many times it is the sheer frustration of the convoluted medical system, which really upsets the patient and the family. In the process of getting angry, the primary intention of sorting out the medical problem gets buried (to some extent).

I have found it quite effective to let the angry patient rant about everything. When they run out of steam, try and work through the problem.

There have been a couple of patients, who refuse to listen and only yell. It is not worth breaking your head with them. Ask them to leave, or leave the room yourself.

I have the right to work in a safe environment.