When The Giver Becomes The Receiver

Being a healthcare provider is a profession of giving.

Giving treatment, time, advice, reassurance, comfort, and more is part of every doctor’s job.

The cycle of giving typically starts at the break of dawn and goes on way past dusk, sometimes well into the early hours of the next morning.

Every time my phone beeps, my hands reach out to it involuntarily, and my mind automatically chimes in –

“Someone must have sent an urgent report.”

“Someone needs support.”

“I have to respond right away.”

One day, my wife Haripriya, who is a wellness practitioner, commented, “You are always giving. When will you slow down and also learn to receive?”

As medical professionals, many of us are so habituated to giving that we don’t stop to think if we also allow ourselves to receive.

In a recent instance, an elderly patient along with his daughter gave a thoughtful handwritten greeting card addressed to me and my colleague Dr. Elvis Joseph. He had recovered from major surgery and was doing well. The card was a token of their thankfulness and appreciation.

This patient is not the first one to have expressed gratitude. However, this time, I took a moment to consciously honour the act of receiving.

This gentleman’s daughter had put in time and effort to write a note from her heart. And I made the effort to receive the words with deep gratitude.

These are some aha moments that breathe life into our profession!

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