Terror in the Patient Encounter

Like meeting any new person, stepping into a room for a first conversation with a new patient is horrifying and humbling. All the insecurities that I've tamped safely down inside - after somewhere between a third- and half-lifetime of adulthood - come to the fore again: will they like me? Will we fight? Will I get out of this with what I want? will they get out of this with my hide? theirs?

Sure I am altruistic, sure I am aiming for good here. But the baseness of human relations has to be gone through over again (at least that's my experience) in every sphere, even in medicine - or especially. When you're sick, and I am intruding upon your sickness to define and delimit it (in the biomedical conception), why shouldn't it be an adversarial meeting?

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