As a physician, the commonplace experiences that patients relate to me often have completely different meanings than the ones they give them.
For instance….it is often that case that patients will think that a symptom, let’s say ‘bright red blood in the bowel movement’ strongly suggests they might have cancer, when in fact, the vast majority of the time such bleeding is benign (I’d say 90+%). Still, this belief holds firm.
I don’t want to suggest that cancer is not ‘on the list’ but generally it is much lower that you might think. Why is this? Because doctors think of things very differently than patients do. In fact, we have a different paradigm for thinking about such problems; it is much more extensive and broad than patients conceive of.
This perspective was brought to my mind this weekend when I read a wonderful Wall Street Journal article on flying, written by from a pilots perspective. The entire flight experience is a completely different event for the pilot, not just because he/she is in control and have vast experience flying, but because they conceive of the process in a completely different way than I’m even aware of. Read the article on flying >>>>HERE<<<< and know that this is analogous to what goes on in my medical world as well.