Doctors, I have known quite a few.
I reflect wryly on a lifetime that has been punctuated by several childhood illnesses, accidents which were not my fault and collisions with immovable objects which were entirely down to people building walls and driving cars in stupid places.
Every incident taught me a little lesson. Not to drink emulsion paint for instance. Not to get so carried in away in a game of 'tip' that you run into a wall at school. To sleep sitting up when you have whooping cough. To wear a seatbelt.
Every incident also introduced me to a different representative of the medical field. Several of them in fact.
Did one of them ever spot my kidneys were failing? Nah. But I digress.
Some I have come across have had a bedside manner that at best should have seen them specialise in pathology. The practice of medicine rather than theory of their text books made them visibly uncomfortable - coming into constant contact with those individuals heretofore referred to as 'the patient' in their case studies and lectures unsettled them greatly.
In my experience, female doctors are generally nicer, many of the men giving off the impression they are only there because they were judged to be "very bright". If you can get into a career of saving lives, why, it would be almost rude not to capitalise on that means of making money and retiring at the age of 50.
A sense of vocation anybody?
The surgeons I have met have all shared that special...self-assured air of importance. This is something I encourage and actually look for in the scalpel brigade. Humility is not a quality I would wish to attribute to any human who is going to cut me open and meddle with my insides. I want a surgeon who believes he or she is God.
Across the board, what they all share however is an ability to detach themselves and stand apart from the scenes that unfold in front of them, because of them, every day. It is super-human.
While grief envelopes the family gathered in the waiting room or the patient perched on the bed, they maintain a steady voice, a stream of non-commital answers, as if they are blind to the effect of their words.
It makes me think of soldiers in battle. A job to do and someone has to do it.
Perhaps it takes more guts to deliver news of a death sentence than to inflict death itself.