The holidays are fast approaching. While most of people love sitting around the dinner table with friends and family and enjoying some food food and time off, chances are the conversation will turn to your profession. Have you sat at your holiday table just to be bombarded by medical questions? Have you ever been surprised and shocked at the questions you were asked and things you heard? We feel your pain. It may help to know you are not alone in being asked to give advice about random rashes, explain why healthcare is so expensive, or field accusations that you “don’t know everything anyway.” Here are some examples of what your colleagues suffered over the holidays at the hands of their relatives.
- “Do radiologists get an MD? How come you don’t want to be a real doctor like a surgeon?”
- “I got my flu shot from Walmart this year – I think that’s why it didn’t work”
- “All the doctors are in bed with the pharmaceuticals industry. People just need diet and exercise, and they would never need any pills.”
- “Alkaline water prevents cancer.”
- “Don’t EVER take antibiotics, they will mess your whole life up. Echinacea tea always cures my sore throats within an hour.”
- “Are you a doctor yet?”
- “I quit smoking. I only smoke cigars now. If you don’t inhale, you can’t get cancer.”
- “I’m not taking my blood pressure medication because I feel healthy and I don’t want to be on drugs.”
- “I read an article in the news that said there’s no such thing as good and bad cholesterol. I can eat all the potato chips I want. Cholesterol is just a genetic problem.”
- “Did you use real bodies in anatomy or plastic models?”
- “After the malpractice insurance it isn’t worth it to become an anesthesiologist.”
It may take more intestinal fortitude to get through a family holiday meal than night rotations. Hang in there. You can either develop standard answers to satisfy relatives or ridiculous answers to make them walk away. Remember, you likely are never going to convince them you know what you are doing.