In a fantastic season 4 episode of The X-Files entitled Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose Clyde Bruckman is a sort of clairvoyant whose precognitive abilities are limited to knowing how a person will die. It is therefore apt that his day job be that of a life insurance salesman. In one circumstance he directly tells a customer that he should buy a particular form of insurance because he would die in a car crash. “Mister, you should really work on your closing,” man says.
I am reminded of this fun tidbit because more and more I realize that this particular new field I’m training in probably requires more human/social art than anything else. There’s the art involved with disclosure (probably the most difficult, so I’m still trying to mostly evade this part, don’t ask me how I do it I’d embarrass myself); the art in dealing with the C&N, ie, clinginess and neediness—a tricky one as clinginess and neediness should not necessarily be viewed as bad given the circumstances yet those two are what get to me the most at the present; and the art of closing particularly during the initial consult, as I am always under the impression that we should always somehow end a consult with a sense of hope. I personally know what it’s like to be at the opposite side of the desk during a cancer consult, so that probably confounds things as there is the tendency to be overly artsy.
It is somehow convenient, in this early stage of our training, when patients are as equally evasive of the issues. I would evade and dodge with them, because at this point we are both unprepared. Occasionally a few would opt not to beat around the bush and look at me directly in the eye and ask if they would get cured. I think I am good at beating around the bush because I love bushes and other bushy stuff and bushy stuff you could smoke, and I could probably tell them that “cure” could mean a lot of different things etc etc etc, but we all know what they’re talking about, and that’s total destruction of that annoying thing called cancer. The first thing I should probably learn is to how to look at them directly in the eye, and not say something stupid like “well, I think…. ano.” Just yesterday someone asked this question about cure, and the first thing I said was, “Well, cancer is… the new cough and colds. A lot of people have it. Siiiiige po!”
Cough and colds. Yes, I really need to work on my closing.