Angry patients can be difficult.
They’re angry because they have financial difficulties, because their diabetes is very uncontrolled and they feel miserable, because they suffer from depression (a lot of men hide their depression with anger), or for a number of other reasons.
But angry patients don’t really bother me because it’s hardly ever directed towards me.
I view angry patients as an opportunity for me to help.
I’ve watched very uncontrolled diabetic patients (with sugars in the 400’s, frequent urination, abdominal pain, headaches, and vision changes) transform into someone else within a few office visits. Their attitude switches from “No one can fix my diabetes” to “Thank you for the new medicine. I feel so much better.”
I usually respond with a quick, “No problem. Glad I could help.”
But when the patient thanks me with detail and with abundance, I respond with, “Thank you for your kind words. I will pass the credit and glory to God.”
There is one particular patient that I will never forget. Let’s call him Chase.
I dreaded it when I saw Chase on the schedule for the day. And I dreaded all future follow-up appointments. He was always very angry, rude, and interruptive. He simply wanted a refill on his meds and did not need my advice on how to improve his health. He was always too busy for his appointments, frequently on his tablet or cell phone, and he always wore headphones.
My tactic was always the same. Prepare his refills, offer what I offer my other patients, answer his questions, make a follow-up, and move on with my day. In and out as fast as possible.
Then one day, our visit took a turn.
He told me that he valued my opinion and respected my intellect (suprise to me!). Then, he had only one question for me: “Do you believe in God and Jesus Christ?”
I said, “Yes, absolutely. I love the Lord with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my mind.”
His eyes opened wide and he explained to me that he was expecting a much different answer from me. He was expecting that I would be an atheist like him because we were both of high intellect.
So I had only one question for him in return, “What is keeping you from believing? Because if you’re asking me if I believe, then you must be struggling with whether or not it’s something real.”
He said, “There’s no evidence that it’s real.”
“I disagree. Can I share my evidence and knowledge with you?”
Suprisingly, he agreed. He still wore a demeanor of anger and he still carried a chip on his shoulder. He crossed his arms and he didn’t smile but I could almost see the wheels turning in his head.
“If you want something you can touch and hold, then I recommend researching the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is tangible archaeological evidence that you can see and hold in your hands. It is the founding pages of our Bible.”
He nodded and squinted his eyes but didn’t said a word.
“And in those Dead Sea Scrolls, you’ll find that all the prophecies listed in the Bible about Jesus came true. And these were written BEFORE Jesus was born.”
He broke eye contact and looked away pensively.
“And if you want to know if Jesus was real, then pick up any history book. His birth is acknowledged in history.”
“And if you want to know if his resurrection is real, then you have to read the bible, where it states that 500 people witnessed him alive after his death and resurrection.”
I paused, worried that he was going to yell and call me an idiot.
“Hmm. And you said they’re called the Dead Sea Scrolls?”
“I’ll have to look into that.”
“Please do. And if it’s OK with you, may I pray for you? I’d like to pray that you find what you’re looking for so that you come a step closer to Christianity.”
And then there it was.
A smile. He chuckled, but not in a mocking way. He chuckled because I think he was surprised by my bravery (even though I was shaking in my boots!) and because maybe…just maybe…God used me to get through to him.
And time went on. I didn’t see him for quite a while. Over a year or so, as a matter of fact.
Then, the funniest thing happened.
I was working a medical event in a neighboring community and I saw him.
He smiled. He laughed. He remembered me. And if it wasn’t for the pandemic, he was going to hug me.
And sparkling in the sunshine, draped around his neck, was a gold chain necklace, with a cross in the center.
And the event I was working on that particular day was for a church.
He not only found the medical care he needed, but he found the spiritual care he had been longing for all this time.
And I don’t take the credit. I don’t take the glory. I give it all to God. Because without God’s word (the bible) and for his church (I took an apologetics course 2 years ago), I would not have been able to share God and Jesus with this man and bring him the peace and happiness that we all need.
Sometimes my patients are angry.
Sometimes I can use my faith in medicine to provide what they’re looking for.
God is real. Jesus is real. The evidence is there. You just have to open your eyes to see it.