In medical school, I was taught to keep my distance. To remember that the patient is the one with the disease. I was told to protect my heart, to be a little cynical, a little deprecatory, to keep a separation between me and the patient. Because they can hurt you.
For 18 years, I met people on what was arguably the worst day of their lives. You have cancer. You have a bowel obstruction and need emergency surgery. You need to have your entire colon removed and poop in a bag for the rest of your life.