That’s Why We’re Here

So my wife got this new stuff called “Poo Pourri” which is something you pour into your toilet bowl before you poop and some fancy surface chemistry later–nothing in the wind. It’s a little like taking Beanos before a meal that might make you gassy and break wind, preventive medicine so to speak. There’s even a catchy poem on the bottle:

Spritz the bowl before you go

And no one else will ever know

Poo Pourri 2

These are the kinds of things a geezer starts to focus on as retirement approaches. You’ve been warned.

I guess retirement from practicing medicine is also called “aging out.” Or maybe it’s pooping out.

The story “Aging out, geography increasing psychiatrist demand,” is in the August 2015 issue of Clinical Psychiatry News and was written by Lucas Frankl. Nearly half of all psychiatrists are probably going to retire in the next 5 years–at a time when demand is high.

That sounds familiar. Why do I feel guilty?

As a profession, we ought to be doing everything we can to recruit new doctors. I see them every day. They’re the next generation and most of them don’t seem to be daunted by the many challenges facing modern medicine. In fact, one of the medical students rotating on the consult service had a good answer when I mentioned the Health Professional Shortage Areas:

“That’s why I’m here.”

So it’s a little hard for me to understand why you still find a culture in medicine which persists in projecting the unflappable “superdoctor.”

In my first year of residency, I caught cold and should have gone home rather than stay in the hospital and take call. Instead I hung in there and ended up with laryngitis. For years after that, whenever I caught a cold, I would end up with another case of laryngitis and sound like Popeye the Sailor for a week.

And while you’ll find articles that clearly say that our health care system and people tend not to talk about the importance of being up front about mental health issues, there’s a recent survey out indicating a growing awareness among Americans that mental and physical health are vital to our well-being.

The trouble is that it’s not accessible.

So are we at least sending the message to our medical students that we value their mental health? They don’t think so.

What could motivate the policy makers and educators to improve the situation and prevent the threatened physician shortage? I don’t pretend to have the answers, but they’re more likely going to come from the inside out, not by forcing more regulations on hard-working doctors who are close to pooping out. And my wife told me about this CNN first person article about suicide. It reminded me of someone and it reminded me of something else–that’s why I’m here.

Pass the Poo-Pourri, please.

2 thoughts on “That’s Why We’re Here

Comments are closed.