Give it all ya got
by Richard Foxx
Back in the day, when I did surgery, the patient was always anesthetized and most of the time the patient’s face was hidden behind a sterile screen. With the patient’s eyes and the face not visible there was always a certain depersonalization that took place regardless of how well you knew him or her.
One of the aspects of aesthetic medicine I have enjoyed most for the last 17 years is being able to look into a patient’s eyes while I work on them and knowing they are free to look into mine. There are no barriers here, no screen to come between us, no room for hesitation or doubt or discomfort. I am literally cognizant of every twinge a patient feels (which is why pain relief is so important to me).
If the bond between my patient and me is not strong the entire dynamic breaks down. Most of the time I work without an assistant, by choice, because I enjoy the peace, the freedom to banter or to just be in the moment. And with patients secure in the knowledge that they can speak in confidence (remember that old-fashioned concept of doctor-patient privilege), the conversations and discussions, the sharing of life stories, are wide-ranging and often profound.
A while ago a patient told me she was thinking about ending a relationship. I did what I do best—listened. As a writer I am hard-wired to do that. I was only hearing one side of the story anyway and as my friend, the author David Payne says, there are three sides to every story: his side, her side, and the truth.
Sometime later she wrote and let me know she had moved on. She said she had found a mantra. “Give up, give in, or give it all ya got.” She discovered the first two choices were not her and “give it all ya got” was the best option and that’s why she left.
“Give up, give in, or give it all ya got.” It resonated with me. I’ve learned a thing or two in this life. Thank God I’m still learning. Mostly I’ve learned that the freckle-faced kid with black hair who would occasionally get the worst part of a fight but who would never say “uncle” is still there.