Residency can be a daily grind of paperwork, conferences, and constant pages, running from patient to patient, to the point where a feeling of disillusionment can come over you at times as medicine just doesn’t seem all the grand things you thought it would be. Siloam is a place that reminds me of the excitement I had when entering medicine with the simple hope of impacting lives and helping others.
During my time at Siloam I was able to sit and just listen, which is so enjoyable as I am usually stretched thin for time. And I learned so much by just listening. One patient told me that her dizziness was cured by drinking water that had been boiled with garlic, which she said was a common remedy people have used in her family for years.
Another described to me the overwhelming feeling of confusion when going to a drug store and seeing 30 different name brands of ibuprofen in a foreign language and not knowing which is better or which one he should get; he wanted a prescription for ibuprofen so he could bring it to the pharmacist and have her pick it out for him. These views into what it is like to wade through the healthcare world from a different background were interesting and enlightening.
It was also a good experience to work in a setting where I had fewer resources immediately available and so had to think broader and utilize a good thorough history and physical to guide decision making. I am so used to ordering a litany of labs and imaging without thinking of the cost, but when the patient before you will have to pay for any testing you order, it makes you think harder about what is really necessary and be more judicious. We should do this all the time but we certainly do not.
I appreciated being part of a place where kindness and compassion infuse the daily work and the patients feel like they have someone who cares about them. At every step the patients are greeted with smiles and concern and open ears and hearts and I think this impacts their health and well-being in as much a way as the practice of medicine does. It is a beautiful reminder of the initial intent we all have when we choose to go into a field of service, but that can get lost in the years of training under layers of jadedness. It’s nice to know the ideal still exists.Guest blog written by Dr. Stacey Tillman.