Mute Eating Goldthread
‘Greet each patient with a smile, and they will feel better’, as my consultant used to say, doubtless repeating advice other doctors once passed to him. So I too wear a smile.
An attitude of stoicism is a pervasive feature of medical culture. Despite the stressors faced by doctors, these unspoken pressures are concealed behind a smile of equanimity.
Renowned though its medicinal properties may be, the taste of the herb Goldthread is bitter. My ancestors of the Southern Song Dynasty coined the idiom: ‘mute eating Goldthread’ to describe the idea of suffering in silence. A mute, with Goldthread overflowing their palette - bitterness that only the self can know; an ineffable sorrow that through no words can they share.
So I smile.