Tales from the Practice of Medicine: Patients' Psychology

Xu Yulin

PureInsight | October 24, 2005

[PureInsight.org] My alcoholic patient returned to my clinic again quite a while later. This time, as his attitude had improved quite a bit, we were able to chat amiably.

"Doctor, I always thought I had good self-control, and I don't remember that drinking alcohol had caused me trouble before. I knew my limits, and being rather clever when it came to trivial matters, I could cover up many difficulties and embarrassments. Alas, it did harm me more than I ever thought." He looked sad when he said this.

"Last year's Mother's Day I had promised my mother to join her for dinner. But, it totally slipped my mind after a bout of drinking. I kept her waiting patiently. A few days later, she had a heart attack and died. When cleaning out her belongings, I found a note she had written that day. "I have to wait for my son and have dinner with him. Today is Mother's Day. He will come for sure. I need to be patient…'" At this point, his voice became hoarse.

"I've also smoked for many years. I've tried many times to stop, but never succeeded. What was most difficult, even though I found the smell of a cigarette unpleasant, I was unable to get rid of the smoking-related motions. For instance, as soon as I woke up, I grabbed a cigarette. Before I went to bed, I could not stop myself from pulling out a cigarette lighter from my pocket. When I put something in my mouth, I could sometimes conceal my need. I paused for a second before the words came out of my mouth along with the cigarette smoke. Besides, people don't look the same way through smoke…"

"What did your family think about your smoking habit?" I asked. "My wife is very nice. She doesn't drink or smoke, but she never complained. However, she was diagnosed with lung cancer recently… We have a ten-year-old child," he said as an afterthought.

You could sense that this guilt feeling was anchored deep in his heart and it was tormenting him. Ironically, the real victims are those who are exposed to this smoke and breathe it in. In this case, the second hand smoke victim of an individual who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day was the wife, who had never smoked a single cigarette. But now her life was in danger and death was approaching.

I didn't say anything. What could I say? Didn't he already know what I was going to say? "Many things can miss us, except one, which is death."

The human body -- everyone has one, but who knows its profound mystery? The length of life -- everyone wants to know what it is, but who has the ability to foresee? The meaning of morality -- people have been talking about it since ancient time, but who truly understands it?

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2005/10/13/34199.html

Add new comment