Poking Fun at My Patients – NYTimes.com

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While humour can range from light to dark, and one person’s idea of funny may be different than another’s, a nice article by one doctor on how he uses light humour to build a stronger relationship with his patients.

One of my hematologists uses ironic humour with me: ‘You are obviously healthy if you have enough time and energy to be doing that’. And the key point, below, is that it injects normality into situations that are anything but normal for patients:

Another of my patients, an older woman now cured of her leukemia, told me that at the time of her diagnosis, the doctor who referred her to me told her to get her affairs in order, because she would die within two months. “But then you started teasing me, and I realized that it couldn’t be that hopeless, because you wouldn’t do that to someone who was on death’s door.”

And that’s just it. I make fun of my patients to create an environment that feels at least a little normal in the craziness of their disease, so they can focus on living, not dying. I do it to show them that there is hope. And I do it so that, despite their cancer diagnoses, they will feel as if they fit again.

Poking Fun at My Patients – NYTimes.com.

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