Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cookies for Doctors

I feel like a crumb because I never considered bringing cookies to my doctors as a way of saying "thank you". This post was inspired by EchoDoc. She wrote a great post about one of her partner's ungrateful patients.

I am hoping that I at least told Dr. Gastro and Dr. Jekyll (surgeon) thank you for taking away my pain and jaundice. But I don’t think that I did. I know I gave them the standard polite thank you each time I left the examining room, but I don’t think I ever thanked them specifically for making me feel better. I don’t know if this is because I’m inconsiderate or if I just figured they were doing their job. Maybe it was just my inexperience at being a patient. And I never once considered bringing them baked goods.

I ended up having to stay in the hospital for five days after my chole (something about not letting me go home with a fever). I received excellent care from the nurses, et al. When I finally got sprung, I wanted to do show my appreciation to those that took care of me. I told the nurses, et al. that they could have all of my flower arrangements. They seemed to like that. I also arranged for a friend to bring a humongous bowl of miniature candy bars and other edible goodies for the nurses’ desk. They really seemed to like that.

I did this because everyone that took care of me during those five days seem to go out of their way to be nice to me. I don’t think I would have felt right leaving without doing something special for them.

Which brings me to this. Now I feel like a crumb for not showing more appreciation to my doctors. My family doctor came by my room every day and never billed for it. I hope I told him thank you, but I can’t remember. The next time I see him, I plan on telling him how much I appreciated him stopping by. Because now I realize that he didn't have to.

There is no way I am asking for a “do-over” of the chole. So I’ll just try to be more appreciative next time. I still don’t see myself bringing cookies to a doctor. I guess some people are cookie people and some aren’t.


SeaSpray said...

Hi MBA - I gave a lot of food away to various medical places this past year. I loved doing it and with thank you note or even a few letters for those people that did a lot or one letter was a combined thank you to SDS/OR/Post-OP and then other individual departments. This year I was a frequent flyer at the hospital and the urologist office. I gave the most to them - but they did the most - the entire staff was amazing. I baked cookies for my PMD in Feb.

MBA - I wasn't working! And as I said - I frequented these places often this past year. So, I have had the TIME to do it. HA! if I was working, unfortunately there is a good chance I would NOT have done ANYTHING because most of the time I didn't. Or - I give Costco food (which is pretty good and has a nice holiday presentation) and a Christmas card.

I NEVER gave the 1st urologist who rescued me from the big stone - anything. I had the best of intentions to do a thank you note and candy or something and I never did. Sometimes I still think I would like to but then that might just seem odd to him so I don't - but it bothers me.

I know from working at the hospital that staff loves getting food. As a matter of fact it's like we all have homing devices and employees are materializing out of the walls to get at the food - seriously. It disappears so quickly that you would think a colony of African ants got to it. :)

The thing is - most people don't. And in Echo doc's post, that Dr. would've been perfectly happy with just a thank you. I think the greatest reward they can have is to know that they helped the patient and see the patient's appreciation.

My friends said they never think to give gifts either - but I had the time. And you know what - sometimes even when I have had the time - I still didn't do it.

Good post. :)

jmb said...

OK, here I am to leave the comment I wanted to leave the other day. I think you did exactly the right thing, note to the doctor and chocolates to the ward. The staff on the ward are very appreciative, even Pharmacy when they come by, because they never get chocolates sent to the basement and they provide all the medications, even make all the IVs for the patients. Sorry a little plug for Pharmacy.
I hope some doctors come by and say what they would consider appropriate.
That said, I was reading Dr Dork's archive today and he looked after a patient whose family sent flowers, chocolates and a card. He kept the card, which he said he treasured, and gave away the other things to the staff. Just what I thought would happen.

Anonymous said...

In this era of hyper-sensitivity about obesity and food as reward, would it still be PC to hand out cookies? Just wondering.

I have been known to bring Belgian chocolates to the veterinary clinic for taking care of my cats. And sort of as a bribe so they will continue to be nice to me and my cats.

I dunno, I would feel like I was bribing the dr. by bringing cookies or perhaps a bottle of nice scotch. And quite honestly the majority of my medical experiences have been distinctly crappy - not exactly cookie-worthy, if you get my drift.

I am more a fan of the thank-you letter. You can't eat it but you can keep it and reread it. The gift that goes on giving.

SeaSpray said...

JMB - I honestly never thought of pharmacy and I DO know how hard you guys work down there - some days you need your skates!

Our vet helped save our German Shepherd's life. Even tho his partner didn't know what was wrong, he went on a hunch and sent out a test and got him on major antibiotics before having us take him to an emergency animal hospital. All vital organs were shutting down. I thought to do something - but never did. Again - working.

I think it IS PC to give any gift from the heart and they can do what they want with it. Last summer, I did a watermelon fruit salad for an office. It was really hot out so thought would be perfect.

It is always nice to get a written thank you too and I save everything like that. :)

Sid Schwab said...

I guess of all the things I got from patients, it was the notes I appreciated the most. Not that I didn't eat the cookies (put them out for the staff, actually.) Got some things grown in gardens. Once, a pen in a hand-made holder. All very touching and apprecated. But it was the words in the notes.... I still have all of them.

The Angry Medic said...

Agreed. The notes are what stick...sometimes they get put on the board. My local hospital's General Surgery ward still has a card from "The Uncle With The Carbuncle". And yes, I guess some people are cookie people and some people aren't.

I'm definitely a cookie person. Oh yes. Chocolate chip, too. Maybe I should pre-inform all my patients when I qualify.

(IF I qualify :P)

SeaSpray said...

They definitely post the thank you notes/letters up on the walls, in the ED and other departments and in our hospital, administration posts the notes they receive on a bulletin board (with patient names crossed out-HIPPA)in one of the main hallways for everyone, including visitors to see.

So Angry medic - where in Cambridge do you want those chocolate chip cookies mailed to? :)

View from the Trekant said...

I agree - the notes are really treasured.

The "ungrateful patient" of my original post is still busily engaged in destroying himself while he annoys and upsets everyone in a 5-mile radius.

The point isn't so much that doctors deserve goodies. You entrusted us with your lives and you paid for the services. It's a privilege to be involved in your care. You don't owe us more.

But the truly hostile and ungrateful, those who have unreasonable demands and expectations (like the patient in my post) so often have no insight into their situation and don't do well medically. They also leave a swath of destruction in their paths.

On the other hand, I have a stack of nice notes from patients and their families. It buoys me up to read their kind words.

Regards - Echo Doc

jmb said...

See MBA,
I rest my case!

Patient Anonymous said...

I had to chuckle the entire way through your post. You feel like a "crumb" for not giving cookies! HA!

Sorry. Sucker for word play.

I think what you did was fine. Perhaps I'm "ungrateful" as I've never done anything special to say more than a basic thank you. Or perhaps the care that I received was simply not worthy of going to a higher level of appreciation.

I mean, I will always *say* thank you for whatever kind of care I receive, even if it's awful simply because it is the polite thing to do. I suppose this post makes me think about care and if someone goes above and beyond in their duties. Should I...or would I do something?

Aisling said...

That was very nice of you. A sincere word of thanks from a patient can really make one's day. All the other stuff is just icing on the cake!