How to be an Authentic Doctor #8: Ignore the Paparazzi


You are a doctor.  Your life is or is going to be filled with glamour.   At every turn you are going to be treated as a celebrity.  You will need to find ways to handle this.  You will also need to know how to handle the paparazzi.  Ask them politely not to take your picture.   Be respectful and keep your cool when they are constantly surrounding you and making you feel like an object.  It is tough living in the spotlight but you brought this upon yourself.    Remember?

Obviously, I am kidding.  It is nothing like that.  This is the life of Hollywood stars who help, well, no one.  You, on the other hand, are nobody.  The stuff you saw about doctors in movies or television shows were fantasies. The old days where you were given better tables at a restaurant or the utmost respect because they found out you were physician were myths or are gone.  Save someone on a plane trip and you may get a thank you.  The airlines themselves won’t give you a ticket or letter of gratitude (I have four examples between my partner and I proving this). The pendulum has swung the other way and we are now persona non grata.  That may or may not be a good thing for our egos.  And in troubling times, which is unfortunately now, it does feel like you are the dog that keeps getting beaten down.

This came from a friend of mine:

I was telling my medical assistant that I got into medicine in part because it looked glamorous. You know those med school brochures…a mahogany desk, a stethoscope sitting on it.  A textbook opened up, a Mont Blanc pen.  A crisp white coat with “Dr” emblazoned on it.  Well, glamorous it ain’t.  I just asked her to give me a hand lifting a 240 lb elderly person in a wheelchair who is known double incontinent. I was checking for decubitus ulcer.  When he stood up I was able to quickly drop his stool stained trousers only to find a huge turd in his draws.  And then decubitus ulcer showed it’s ugly face.  That was my first patient of the afternoon. I still can’t get the smell out of my nose.  It’s been twenty years and I still don’t have a mahogany desk or a Mont Blanc pen.

No, this job is not glamorous.  We need to get over it.  The world doesn’t treat us like they did in the old days.  We need to live with it.  There are no paparazzi or nice restaurant tables and the money doesn’t roll in.  Make peace with these facts right now because it is never coming back or maybe it never really was at all.   All you can hope for is Karma and that you get in life what you put into it.  You help a lot of people and hopefully you can focus on the good that you do versus the good you think you should get.   And maybe you should buy yourself that Mont Blanc pen already.



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