MD & Memoirs
12/03/2019 | 55 Minutes
Kyle is a family physician at the U of U med school where he cares for patients with a developmental disability. Additionally, he teaches family medicine residents and conducts research, all which led him to write a book – Fallible: A Memoir of a Young Physician’s Struggle with Mental Illness. We get personal, talking about Kyle’s struggle and the struggle that many physicians don’t talk about.
Baseball – according to Kyle, it’s the beautiful combination of science and art. There’s the action that happens on the field in front of your eyes, and the behind the scenes strategy that has to play out on field. It’s similar in medicine.
Kyle mentions a story from the 1880s where the director of a New York State Insane Asylum implemented baseball as a means of medicine. More information on that here.
New and interesting ideas – new ways to connect two dots, marrying quantitative results and qualitative experiences.
We saw this trend in baseball with the Oakland A’s (Book and Movie, Moneyball) that’s spread to other teams.
In medicine, Kyle balances the results and the recommended prescription plan with a patient’s life. What will work (quantitative results) for them (qualitative experiences)? That’s why he went into family medicine, looking at the entire individual, not just the emergency.
Take population data and apply it to one person.
The desire to fill a societal need – During his residency, as so many physicians do, Kyle struggled with depression and anxiety. And in that process he feels like he lost some of his humanity, or that he wasn’t connecting with it. We talk about whether his desire to fill a need is ongoing or something that is reachable. Be it ongoing, we argue he never lost the humanity to his person. It’s the humanity of one individual that continue to further the progress of himself and those in his care.
The desire to be enough – how do you measure your life? Your contributions, your successes? How do you know if you truly matter? Does your convincing depend on the benefit you provide others? And what backfills the doubt when accomplishments fade?
Mentoring and supporting others – this doesn’t need to always be at the doorstep of imparting wisdom. Sometimes it’s as simple as being there, being a listening ear, and one that offers advice or simple direction in the moment that has ripple effects.
KYLE'S TICK OFFS
Non-physicians dictating how doctors care for patients – on average, for every 1 hour of direct patient care, physicians spend 2 hours on non-direct patient care, including phone calls with insurance companies while prescribing treatment plans. The wrestle where a primary care has to battle with other non-physicians about their primary care.
Talking during movies – we both share our sob stories. Kyle’s was during Frozen 2. Ben’s, during A Quiet Place. Keep Quiet!
Drivers backing into parking spots – Kyle argues its ok 3% of the time, being at concerts or sporting events to avoid parking lot congestion. But at grocery stores? C’mon.
Blatant disregard for others – backing in your car falls into this tick off, mainly, it’s the little things when people don’t recognize the negative space they’re taking on other people’s lives.
CONNECT WITH KYLE
...I'm constipated, and my cousin was constipated and she had colon cancer. And so, I'm worried that I have colon cancer. You know, so it's like they take the symptom, and then they apply it to every everything based on their experience...
...and home girl next to me, has an In-n-Out bag...
...I was trying to back up into a spot in the parking lot and it took me a long time. I couldn't figure out the guides!
You're listening to Ticked. A series that explores the motivations and frustrations of driven individuals. Hi, my name is Kyle Bradford Jones. I'm a husband and father, a family physician and an author, but you want to know what really makes me tick? Keep listening and find out.
1:20 | Studio Introduction
[Ben] What's up everybody! Welcome to a brand new episode of the Ticked Podcast, it's your host, Ben. And today, Kyle Jones joins me in the studio. Kyle is a family physician at the University of Utah medical school. And he also mentors Family Medicine residents. And he wrote a book that's available for pre order. And I'm actually ordering mine as we speak. It's called Fallible: A Memoir of a young physician struggle with mental illness. We talk about the struggle, the one that he had, and that many physicians have, but don't talk about. This episode is a healthy balance between comical and serious, tick offs and ticks, those eye-rolling moments we can all get behind and unique drivers derived from experiences that I've never had. I had a lot to learn in this episode. But before we launch in, let me leave you with perhaps what struck me the most about this interview with Kyle, and that's this: His ticks, both personal and professional, are based on ideas that are ever-evolving, ever-changing, something which he'll always strive for and continually measure against with encouragement and motivation. And that for me is the definition of a ticked person. He'll never finish. He'll never cross it off his list, but it's the pursuit – and that is worth striving for. Insert Matthew McConaughey's Man to Chase speech that he gave at the 2014 Academy Awards. And if you've listened to the podcast for a while, you know, that's my favorite speech! You knew that was coming. With that, enjoy the episode.
2:59 | Interview with Kyle
[Ben] Kyle, welcome to the show.
[Kyle] Thank you. Thank you. Glad to be here.
[Ben] To start off, why don't you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself.
[Kyle] Yeah. So right now I live in Millcreek with my wife and I have four kids. Two sons two daughters, ages 14 to 4 so we got a nice spread there. But I'm a family physician at the University of Utah School of Medicine. And every time I say that they want me to say that all opinions are my own and they don't represent the opinions of the university so got that out of the way. But, but it's a cool job because I see patients, I teach Family Medicine residents, I do some research. So I have a lot of different areas that I am working on which is kind of cool.
[Ben] Oh yeah you got like the full umbrella. You interact with patients and then you get to stay up to date on the most recent research, all the new headlines. There's a lot of headlines in family medicine. Also like inspiring young minds.
[Kyle] Ya, I don’t know if they would say I’m inspiring them but I’m trying
[Ben] How long have you been in charge of all three of these buckets or how long have you been doing all that as part of your job?
[Kyle] So the last 7 years, so I finished residency at the U and then immediately joined the faculty there.
[Ben] And then went straight in. Where did you go to school?
[Kyle] So I went to undergrad at Utah State…
[Ben] I did not know you were an Aggie!
[Kyle] Oh yeah, True Aggie all the way!
[Ben] Oh man, I love it, that’s so great!
[Kyle] And then went to the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee for Medical School. So that’s a great area, we really liked living in Milwaukee.
[Ben] That’s really cool, so how did you hear about the Medical College of Wisconsin?
[Kyle] So, it’s funny because there are a handful of medical schools across the country that seem to have a pipeline from Utah to that school, for whatever reason, and so that’s one of them. And, you know, at first I was like, well, it doesn’t seem like that great a school..
[Ben] Like it’s not a Harvard or a Columbia
[Kyle] Ya, exactly, like…come on… And then I went and interviewed there and was like, no this is a great..like I really like this place. So it worked out really well.
[Ben] Also on your form you mention, I just love the way that you said this, hanging out with my family, writer, anything baseball, and movies…let’s talk about all of this stuff! We first went straight into career, which is awesome…That's exactly I mean, it takes a very driven person to get into the medical field. Sure. First of all, but there's all this other side to you as well, you're a writer?
[Ben] So, what do you write?
[Kyle] So I have a book coming out, comes out April 2nd, 2020. And it’s my memoir as a physician with mental illness, so its called Fallible: A Memoir of a Young Physician’s Struggle with Mental Illness. And this is the time that I plug that cause my publisher would be mad if I don’t. So you can go to BlackRoseWriting.com or my Facebook page – Kyle Bradford Jones MD, ya know that will will get you there.
[Ben] And we're going to link all of that in the show notes page on the website.
[Ben] So everybody check out the show notes page for this episode, and you'll get links to all of the book stuff.
[Ben] Um, so that's a memoir, which is like journal entries? Or is it is it all first person kind of thing?
[Kyle] It's all first person, but a lot of it did come from journal entries…I wrote it because mental illness in general is such a big deal in society right now and yeah you know and suicide rates are going up and, but it's even worse among physicians. And so, you know, there's obviously the stigma against mental illness in society. It's 10 times worse in medicine. So because you know as physicians we're, we're supposed to be the hero that comes in and saves the day, we know everything that needs to be done and take care of it, and you just kind of have to suck it up and be strong…And so, partially because of that so many more physicians are developing like depression, anxiety, and don't feel like they can talk about it. So that was one of the biggest drives for this book was, like, you know, I feel like I can talk about this. So, I want to make sure others feel like they can too.
[Ben] Wow. How long ago did you get the idea to write the book, or to turn your experience into a book, maybe that's a better question.
[Kyle] It's been years, I've been writing it for three years. I had the idea, I don't know, maybe five or six years ago, something like that.
[Ben] When does the idea come to you that you're like, man, my life needs to be a novel? Like was it was it just like a random thought one day that you're like, Oh, I gotta put this down on paper because my boss at work actually is writing a book. And I've never asked him this question so when I got an author in front of me I’m going to ask you…what is what's that moment like?
[Kyle] Well, it's funny because I've always been a little self conscious of writing a memoir because that takes like a lot of gumption where it's like, my life is so cool that all you guys want to read about it. But it was, It was probably…So let's see it was 2013 2014. I was writing a lot for a website, aimed at New physicians. So within their first few years of practice. And I had talked with a few different people, about a few different physicians who had had mental illness and just kind of one on one conversations and started to realize that this was a bigger thing than anybody really knew about. And so for this website, I wrote my story about mental illness. And, like, the response was huge, like all these doctors are like, Oh, I'm so glad that someone else is feeling this too…
[Ben] And someone else's brave to talk about it.
[Kyle] Yeah. And so it was kind of at that point I started to think, well you know maybe I should write a little bit more about this and then it you know, just kind of slowly evolved, but that's probably about where it started out,
[Ben] Writing for this website, was this part of your work as you kind of train first year students?
[Kyle] This was basically all extracurricular. I've always loved writing. I have long had a big interest in larger healthcare issues and health policy and things like that and so there were a few different websites like that, that I've written for over the years that allowed me to kind of explore some of these different ideas and issues and things so. So yeah, that it. It's funny because for me it's a lot of fun. For some people, they're like, That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
[Ben] Or like, there's so much work involved. But when it's a passion project like that like, you know, you don't see it as much like…Oh there's a ton of work that I got to do here.
[Kyle] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Well, and also with the depression, anxiety and and going through all of that, it’s been very therapeutic two, to explore that and then to have kind of the the positive response of people coming out and saying, yeah, I’m so glad to hear that because it, you know, helped me feel better about what I'm experiencing too. And so, you know, it just keeps driving that.
[Ben] I hope I'm not inserting my opinion out of turn, But I love that you're creating kind of a community inside a community, you've got this community of healthcare professionals and the doctors and some of the smartest people that we have the pleasure of working with and seeing and helping us get through help, but you're creating this little sub community inside of that. That's bonding everybody and creating conversation that needs to be heard.
[Kyle] Yeah, I'm trying to yeah you know and the last few years, there really have been so many more physicians, come out and share their story. And so it it is kind of almost like a movement, you know, people are coming out and there's been a lot more advocacy around physicians taking their lives and, and, you know, all of these things that really are important and affect all of us, you know, not just physicians, and so it’s neat to play a small part of that.
[Ben] Yeah. Okay, let's talk about baseball.
[Kyle] Yes, I love it
[Ben] What team do you follow?
[Kyle] Minnesota Twins
[Ben] oh, was this…no you were in Wisconsin
[Kyle] Right. so I was actually born in Minnesota, and then we moved to Utah, when I was about three, so I don't really remember it but that was the connection to baseball and football and stuff that I had so. Big Minnesota Twins fan. You know I always tease my kids this, because in baseball, I love that there's no clock. It's, everyone gets their turn. And, so I always tell my kids, there's always hope in baseball. Every guy gets their last…gets to come up and take their turn, and any one of them can blow it open. There's always hope in baseball.
[Ben] Yeah. Now, this might be too general of a question. And this is going to be a tall order. I've never really been able to get behind baseball too much. So what are some of your talking points like what do you love about baseball?
[Kyle] Yeah. One of the biggest things – I feel this way about baseball but also about medicine is it's kind of this beautiful combination of science and art. Because, you have so much strategy and so much thinking, kind of behind the scenes and in the middle of the plays, that you don't necessarily notice. But you can really get into and, you know, that's where a lot of baseball fans get into it, but then you have to be incredibly athletic to pull it off, and to make it work. And, you know, there have been people who say that, hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in all of sports. Which, I think is absolutely correct. Like I you know I'm not much of an athlete. If I were in an NBA game, it's conceivable I could score two points
[Ben] Yeah, a layup at some point
[Kyle] Exactly. In baseball, there is no way I could hit the ball, or do anything, I would just have to pray to get walked and that's it. Like, there's no way I could do anything. So, you know, having that artistry and science together, I love, I think it's so cool.
[Ben] See I think my, I still have a respect for baseball even though I never really like gotten into it too much. But for me that respect is like it's America's pastime – So many greats that played the game of baseball and the chance to go to the ballpark with your dad with your brother with your son with your sisters right any kind of family, you have a hot dog, grab a coke. You sit along the third baseline.
[Kyle] Yeah, and it's just beautiful summer evening. So I I learned this just a couple of weeks ago and I was absolutely fascinated by this, where – in…I think it was the 1880s, there was an insane asylum in New York State. And all of a sudden the guy running it thought, you know what is perfect therapy for mental illness is baseball. And so the asylum sponsored a baseball team. Now, it wasn't the people living there who were playing it, but his idea was, like, okay, they, this is like something that they can group around, they can root for a team, like they can go outside on the sunny days and enjoy the weather and the game moves just slow enough that you can process what's going on as opposed to basketball or football. And so he viewed it as this huge therapy for mental illness, and then all these other asylums across the country over the next 20 or 30 years started doing the exact same thing. I thought that's so fascinating. Yeah, baseball, as treatment for mental illness. So there you go. Good for what ails you…
[Ben] That brings up kind of another on of your personal ticks, and you mentioned here – new and interesting ideas. And I bet the direct of the insane asylum, right, like – that is a new and an interesting idea! People around him probably ridiculed him for it but it turned out to pan out. What is it about new and interesting ideas that really get you going?
[Kyle] I love, I love making new connections between different things. So for example, I've always been fascinated by behavioral economics or kind of what, how, how we make decisions, and why we make certain decisions. And especially in medicine you constantly have this tug and pull between quantitative data or basically the scientific evidence of…you have this disease, we know from studies that this medication works for this disease and so I'm going to give it to you. But you also have experience. And so you have seen this scenario multiple times you've seen when it goes well when it goes wrong. And so you kind of have to combine those two things in order to make the right decision. And I've always been fascinated by that so how much of the decision should be scientific quantitative data, how much of it should be experiential qualitative data. And I found what I think is a fascinating parallel in, you guessed it, baseball, where, you know, a lot of people know the book and the movie Moneyball where, all of a sudden the Oakland A's, take, they start looking a lot more at quantitative data and stats to drive much more of their decisions with with baseball players and how they construct their team and all of those things. And so, since then, which was, I think, was 2002 2003. Since then, all these baseball teams have kind of had this tug and pull of, Okay, well how much of our decision making should be based on stats, how much of it should be the experience of scouts, and the qualitative decision making. And so, kind of looking at, at, how some teams have integrated that and how they determine how much should be data, how much should be experience, and then kind of relating that to how I make decisions as a physician, things like that making those connections. I think are fascinating. Yeah, you know, theoretically healthcare baseball are totally different things. And yet, you find these parallels that really can kind of inform the other.
[Ben] Yeah. Okay, so I got a question for you. And you're going to help me unpack this, So here's my question and it could your answer could be based on the situation, or it could be based on your strengths as a physician. Do you find yourself leaning more towards the quantitative data when you're coming up with a solution for a patient or do you find yourself leaning more towards your experience? And sometimes we hear how a patient will say, you know, my doctor had this gut feeling I'm so glad she followed her gut, because it's what saved my life…And how do you…what do you…how do you…let me into the life of a medical professional! How do you balance between the experience that you have, and also what the what the research tells you, and where do you find yourself morphing or leaning as you gain more experience?
[Kyle] You know, it's hard and it probably shifts from patient to patient and maybe day to day. So, for example, one of the reasons I went into family medicine which is primary care is because we kind of get to look at the whole individual and everything going on in their lives. And so it's not just a small piece of their anatomy or physiology, you know we we are working with the individual whose illness is going to be impacted by how their job is going, or you know where they live or relationship with their spouse or whatever, and take that into account and how that affects their disease process. And so, oftentimes, I try to, you know, take that into account in terms of, well, okay…you, you might struggle with…if you have diabetes, you might struggle with checking your blood sugar enough but it's not because you're lazy, it's because you can't get to the pharmacy to pick up your strips and you know you don't have the dexterity in your fingers to actually do it very well and you need help. You know there's all these kind of little things and so it's like okay well ideally we might have to check your blood sugar, four times a day. Let's go with one or two. It’s not ideal but in your situation this seems to be what might work the best. And, but it's also the scientific evidence is interesting because people will come in and they say…well to use an example, I'm constipated, and my cousin was constipated and she had colon cancer, and so I'm worried that I might have colon cancer. So it’s like they take the symptom, and then they apply it to everything based on their experience. And we are kind of taught to do the exact opposite where we take population scientific data, and try to apply it to one person, as opposed to the opposite. And so in my mind I'm thinking, well yeah that's a possibility, much less likely and let's work through it and try to figure it out. And so, a lot of it has to do with working with the patient and their experience and how they're approaching the issue. And so, I don't have a simple answer for you in terms of how I do it. But you take all of those things into account and work with the patient to try to come to the optimal solution for them.
[Ben] I love the example you gave of taking all this data, all this research, all the experience that you have the gut feelings, but then applying all that to the individual patient. And I'm going to complain for just one quick second. My previous primary care, I felt like he lost care of me. I felt like I kind of became more like dollar signs in his waiting room. And so I switched primary care to a new doctor and I love the guy. And it's so refreshing to walk into his office and, and you're not waiting in line, he keeps his appointment times, and he sits with you and he says, What's on your mind let's talk about it. What do you want to see me for, is there anything else? And you know, like…oh, I'm an important part of this doctors day, and they're caring about me as an individual. So, I can tell right off the bat, that's exactly how you are, and and coming from me I appreciate that.
[Kyle] That actually ties in to the book to where the medicine is so much more like your experience with the first doctor because of all of these outside influences on physicians and so this is one of my tick offs where people who aren't in medicine tell us how to do our job. So you know you have an insurance company that says well you know you may think they need a CT scan for this reason and this reason, but we don't think that so we're not going to pay for that. And so then, you know, you think, well, they really do need it and so then you spend half an hour on the phone with the insurance company, waiting on hold trying to get in touch with someone so that you can make your case as to why they need the CT scan, and then the in the end, they'll oftentimes approve it, but you just took you a half an hour to try to figure all that out. And you have all of these different demands on your time. So the average primary care physician in the United States spends two hours on doing things that are not direct patient care for every one hour of patient care. So, for example, you spend one hour with, with your patients for, you know, two or three appointments or whatever. And then two hours is spent writing the note, filling out paperwork fighting with the insurance company, you know, working with the pharmacist because the insurance company won't cover this medication and so well what's, what's something that's close enough that will still work and fit their unique circumstance and all of these things and so you have this, these huge pressures coming on physicians, and then you suffer as a patient, as well as the physician, you know, and, and it's it's terrible, it, it just affects everybody in a negative way.
[Ben] Yeah, my initial question on this tick off of yours was like is it parents that, like, you, you, you put it so well, non physicians dictating how I care for my patients. So, so I was like, oh is this parents that are telling you like, well, she has this you know she complained about this. But, but it's, it's, everyone else in the healthcare, all these other players in the healthcare industry that I think about.
[Kyle] Yeah, and it's and it's getting worse and worse, about half of all physicians have symptoms of burnout. And that's increased by 20% just in three years because of yes things are increasing. And, but it's also leading to more mental illness kind of going back to, to the book and some of the other things we've been talking about, about physicians with depression, anxiety because they have these constant stressors that they can't escape. And that's all on top of the difficulty in practicing medicine, you know, because there's so much uncertainty, you're doing everything you can to try to help this person. And sometimes you don't have the answer or you don't have a way to help them and you know you're dealing with life and death and all of these things and so once you pile on these other things a lot of physicians just can't do it anymore.
[Ben] Wow, you're like the last line of defense, feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, and then if you don't perform perfectly when put under a microscope. Everyone points the finger at you.
[Kyle] That's what it feels like.
[Ben] Alright. let's dish a little bit on personal tick offs, something that we can both get behind – talking during movies. So, you enjoy going to movies?
[Kyle] I love movies.
[Ben] Oh I love movies, and it's the movie theater experience that I love. And talking during movies pretty self explanatory. What's your worst talking during a movie experience? I have one.
[Kyle] So, let's see. Last week, we went, I went with my family and we saw frozen two, took the little girls, of course they were so excited. And so we’re there the theater’s packed it's a Saturday morning, and they're these teenage girls behind us and constantly they weren't even talking that much, but they were intentionally making like sounds and they were like popping their mouths and like all the weird stuff. Yeah, you know, you kind of give them the half turn and hope that they get the hint, but sometimes they don't and. And you never quite know where that line is where all of a sudden you need to be the jerk and be like hey, come on, you’re ruining it for everybody. And so that's always difficult, but it's also…I love my family, but there's also times you're watching TV at home, and they keep talking, or they're like asking questions like, well, if you'd be quiet and watched that question will be answered.
[Ben] Just give it time. That will resolve.
[Kyle] But it makes it so much harder to enjoy the movie. It's., it's hard.
[Ben] I was at a movie called A Quiet Place. And it's purposely very quiet per the title. Throughout the whole movie there's very little talking, and it, it adds to the complexity and the intensity of the movie, it's incredible. And home girl next to me, like, has an In-n-Out Bag. And In-n-Out, right, it's not cardboard, everything's wrapped in paper. You got your fries. You got your burger. You got your drink that she like shakes and ice like comes loose. And then she gets to the bottom and she has like that gurgling noise…It was the worst. It was so bad. And then I never know when to cross that line is I'm too afraid of crossing that line so I never do I stay back. How can you do it in a, in a kind way?
[Kyle] I know, because even if you say it nicely like you know, being kind of loud, will you please, you know, keep it down. Like it's still, you know, it still comes across as like hey, quiet. I don't want to be that guy yeah but I want you to be quiet.
[Ben] ButI love going to the theaters, because of the experience that you that you buy your candy, you have this incredible sound this incredible picture. You got these luxury recliners now that you lay back in. And then there's. Then there's the girl next to you who's eating her double double animal style like licking her fingers, you know, and then like instead of like lightly folding up the tissue paper or whatever you know like the packing, she's like crumbling it like shooting the three pointer from her seat to the corner.
[Kyle] And it's not even just the sound. It's, you just get so riled up that there's no way you're focusing on the movie at that point. Yeah, it's terrible. It is. It's the worst.
[Ben] Here's another thing that's maybe the worst for you. Well, one of the things you included on your personal tick offs, drivers backing into parking spots…
[Kyle] Yes, first of all I will admit 3% of the time, it’s okay, because you know like if you're going to a concert or a sporting event, you want to, there's going to be lots of traffic, makes sense, you're going to baseball games I want to be able to leave quickly…
[Ben] Yeah, there you go yeah exactly that's perfect.
[Kyle] But, you know, if you're going to the grocery store. You don't need to back into your slot because first of all people suck at it. So you have to back in and pull out and back in again and it takes forever. And people are waiting for you. And, you know, some people will be like, well it's faster I can get out quicker and like but it took you three times longer to get into the spot. So, it just drives me nuts and my wife laughs at me every single time. You know, make comments were like oh it's a good thing that guy backed in, and he'll be able to get out quicker. She’s like, Kyle, just stop it…
[Ben] He needs to be able to leave Walmart fast.
[Kyle] Yeah, exactly.
[Ben] So, I got a car not too long ago a Ford Explorer, and my friends and I are season ticket holders for RSL soccer games. So, we used to take turns driving because we all live in the same house. And, and I had had my car for, you know, a couple months, I had never had a backup cam before, now I do, and I was trying to back up into a spot in the parking lot and it took me a long. I couldn't figure out the guides, like the way the guides work, and like the lines were like I was approaching from a weird angle, and I could never get it right and all my friends are much better drivers than me. Their man card includes like I can back a trailer…their man card is like, I've got an F 150 quad cab and I can back a horse trailer. And I'm like, Oh, I don't know how to use my backup cam. They were making fun of me inside my car, and then there were fans like they were walking past, and they stopped because they're like wow this guy can't find those lines, he can’t guide himself. It was the worst experience ever.
[Kyle] But then you were able to get out easier right?
[Ben] That's it! When it was time to leave the game you know I was one of the first people out on the street, you know, for the record I have gotten a lot better about using that back up cam
[Kyle] Oh, there you go
[Ben] So that’s yeah…I think I fall inside the 3% spot you may disagree. I back into my spot…I have like, I'm in a little parking terrace, and I like…everybody backs in, I didn't want to be the loser who didn’t….it was peer pressure…
[Kyle] I see the problem.
[Ben] it really is a problem man I need to see this. You've illuminated so much for me.
[Kyle] I’m sure I've alienated half of the listening audience so I apologize but but that's one of my tick offs.
[Ben] Does backing into your parking spot fit a little bit into your third one here, blatant disregard for others?
[Kyle] Yes, because oftentimes it just takes so long, there's a lineup of cars they can’t do anything because you're still trying to back in just right and and there's no purpose to it and it's it it's like, so much of the time you're oblivious to everyone else around you and, and it's, I don't know, it just drives me nuts, and I'm one of those guys, I, I can't let things just kind of roll off my back. One of the things I'm working on in therapy but, But it's so hard for me.
[Ben] Have you seen other examples I guess of blatant disregard for others?
[Kyle] This is one of those things where growing up, my dad would always recognize this and my mom wouldn't and it drove my dad insane, where, for example, let's say you're at like the grocery store, and you're standing in the aisle and her grocery cart is right in the middle and like nobody can get past and she has no idea what's going on and my dad is like you need to move the cart, no one is getting by. You know, so he's moving it and he's apologizing to all these people and stuff, and little things like that, where it's like, you don't necessarily recognize you're putting people out. And, I mean, that's kind of a funny thing because I could be doing lots of things where I don't recognize that I'm putting people out because I don't recognize it. Yeah, I don't know I'm doing it, but just little things like that where it's like, No, I’m, This is my space I'm you know, I'm going to do my thing and it doesn't really matter if anyone else has put out or not.
[Ben] Yeah, I think there's a healthy balance in between all this. I oftentimes have been hyper aware of like how I infringe on other people's lives, or other people's days and so for example I mean it just made me think when you're giving your grocery cart example like, I will sometimes I will put my cart like so far up against the aisle that I'm like, knocking off all the little two for three stickers. My friends are like why are you so worried about this. Just like they're adults they can go around, you know,
[Kyle] And then the poor guy who works there is like this idiot doesn't realize all the signs he's knocking off all the two for $3 signs.
[Ben] Exactly. So, so there's a healthy balance there where I think it's like, No, these guys are adults they can figure out a way around my cart, you know like, they're, they're totally is that side that I think, I mean, so I don't, I've learned to not get as upset when I see it in the world. Because, I think sometimes I have a hyper aware sense to it that it's that it's like inhibited me a little bit…
[Kyle] And that's probably my issue like a little too hyper aware. It's like just tone down the awareness just a little bit enough so that you're still recognizing but…
[Ben] I want to talk a little bit more about the book and a little bit about professional life for you. One of the ticks you listed professionally is the desire to fill a societal need. Talk to us about that.
[Kyle] So, I'm going to back up a little bit and give you a little more background so and I go into this a lot in the book where…So I've had anxiety for many years, and been on medication off and on. And then when I entered residency in family medicine, developed a severe depression, and that is actually most commonly when physicians develop a mental illness is during residency, because you're working, 30 hour shifts, you're, you know, in the hospital that you will go, sometimes, a couple of weeks at a time without seeing the sun, you are, you know, caring for people who are dying and you know it's it's incredibly emotionally stressful, physically stressful. And I really worried that I had lost my humanity during residency. And what I mean by that is, it's kind of the the joke that everybody during their medical school admissions interview says well I want to be a doctor so I can help people. And it's like okay well what does that mean what do you mean you want to help people, and, and, but that was totally me, you know, it was I went in with with these altruistic thoughts and and you know I'm going to be able to help so many people and it's going to be great. And then it got in the thick of it. And it's like, you know what, I don't really care right now. You know, I know I'm supposed to be caring for you, doing the best I can, but I don't know, I'm struggling to muster enough compassion or anything to really provide the care needed because it's at the end of a 30 hour shift and I haven't slept in two days. You know all these things I can't even think straight. So because of that, like I really worried that I had lost my humanity, so to speak. And so, when I list that as a tick of the desire to full to fill a societal need. That was what drove me into medicine. And what I'm trying to feel now to make it worthwhile and to make sure that I'm interacting with medicine the way that I wanted to, when I went in, if that makes sense. Yeah, so, like right now the clinic I work at is for individuals with a developmental disability. And so, all ages I mainly work with adults, but a lot of autism, a lot of Down syndrome cerebral palsy, things like that. And this is a population that is underserved in many ways, medically speaking. It's hard for them to find a doctor that feels comfortable with the, the unique aspects of their care or who has the training to deal with that. The short appointment slots and small exam rooms like they're not the system itself doesn't fit what they need
[Ben] Conducive to what they need.
[Kyle] Exactly, yeah. And so, you know when when the opportunity came up I thought, boy okay this is, this is a societal need this is something where I can help. but I haven't been quite sure. And still I struggle with this and I kind of explored in the book, where I don't know if I'm doing it or seeking to fill a societal need because I'm trying to regain that humanity that I lost or. I'm trying to convince myself that no, I really never lost it, like I really am here for the right reasons. And so, it's when I, when I think of the depression and anxiety that that comes on from so many different things in my job that impact it. It's, you know I have to be useful here. Otherwise, it's not worth it. Yeah, and I gotta go do something else
[Ben] Yeah okay so you said this desire to fill a societal need is you don't know if it's trying to regain the humanity. How did you say it, you didn't know if it was regaining the humanity…
[Kyle] Or convincing myself that I never lost…
[Ben] Or convincing yourself you never lost it. I think you do you consider filling a societal need something that you'll ever reach as an endpoint or something that will continue forever. Right. Yeah, if it's something that continues forever, then it means that you never lost it. Right, because you're continually…It's, it's such an integral part of who you are, that there's never an endpoint to filling the societal need. Yeah. If you feel like, Oh yeah, I've totally filled this societal need
[Kyle] Oh, we’re fine, oh society is great. Go watch some baseball…
[Ben] I think I would argue at that point that's where you're like, oh I got my humanity back.
[Kyle] Yeah, you know, maybe and it's, it's hard because it's also I've also struggled always with self confidence or feeling like I'm enough, but it's kind of the same thing well what's enough. Yeah. How do I how do I know if I'm feeling, filling this need. You know, I, I don't really know, but, but I'm doing the best I can to try to figure that out, even though I may not have an answer yet.
[Ben] Yeah, tell us a little bit about the desire to be enough.
[Kyle] So, I've always…This, my wife told me not to go into this he's like it's too deep nobody wants to hear.
[Ben] We want to hear it!
[Kyle] It’s in the book like I explore this to where I have this very existential fear that I don't matter. And that doesn't mean that you know I have to be this great amazing guy it's not in that sense, it's that I'm just a waste of space, so to speak, and, you know, I've never had much self confidence I've never really felt that that I matter so to speak. And so a lot of these things like, you know, working with this population or doing things like this. I'm trying to fill that need so that I can convince myself that I actually matter that there is something good coming because of me. And, you know, and it's one of those things where logically you can say well you know yeah you've, you've done this and you've done this and, and you've helped this person along the way, but emotionally I still feel that. And so in some ways, that's been a hindrance to me but in other ways, it's been a big motivator, and kind of keeps me going to try to fill, to try to address that fear.
[Ben] I would argue that you're definitely enough. And, and beyond. We talked a little bit before recording this podcast that you work with patients with developmental disabilities, and my oldest nephew is 16 with a developmental disability he would be a patient that you would see. And I know that I know there's so many questions that parents have in the medical community. And my sister and my brother in law have so many questions, you know, and and having doctors like you to help provide recommendations and sight down the road, even just listening ear that they can complain to, it’s probably a godsend for them.
[Kyle] It's just, it's so difficult to I mean life is hard enough, and then when you have a loved one who has a lot of extra needs and and what not. And that you, there are no answers yes to know what to do. There's no fix, so to speak. Yeah. And, yeah, that's incredibly difficult. Sorry I'm turning into my therapist that's not what I intended…
[Ben] That’s what the Ticked Podcast is for…
[Kyle] …is for a therapy session.
[Ben] Another one of your professional ticks, and I can see that…I mean we talked about your three prong approach inside your job. That you're you're doing research, you're teaching, and you're also a doctor! …That was terrible to say because a doctor encapsulates all of this, but you have here, mentoring and supporting others. What are some examples you can provide of, of, of great success stories you've had, I guess.
[Kyle] Yeah, so there was a resident who was a year or two behind me, and we became good friends. And one time we were working in the hospital together, and a patient that he was caring for left the hospital against medical advice, which happens sometimes he…
[Ben] Oh, he wanted to go…
[Kyle] …and he had his alcohol…yeah, he’s like I'm out of here. Yeah, exactly. And so there was a specialist involved who was helping us with something, and the specialist lost it, and was so angry and was just yelling at this poor resident, a year or two behind me about how they were going to get sued now by this guy, and it was terrible, and he just ruined this guy's life, and just all of these absurd things. And, and, you know, you could just see this poor resident just kind of crumble emotionally right in front of you. And so, you know I I pulled him aside and I was like okay, let's, let's go talk about this and we kind of debrief and you know and and talked a lot about it, and…you know, we'd had a few similar encounters where I was, you know, would try to help them through different things. After I published that first article talking about my mental illness, byy that time I was a faculty member, and I think he had just finished residency, but he came up to me and he said, You know, I've always struggled with this, but reading that convinced me that I need to get on medication because it's gone too far, and you know I can't let it go further. And, you know, just things like that where I didn't really do a whole lot timewise or, I didn't have this immense wisdom to share with him. But having, I think having someone there and just kind of supporting with him, but supporting him and and helping him through made a big difference for him. And so, as you know, I work with residents now and family medicine, they're going through this really tough time because as I said residency is is terrible, one third of all residents have clinical depression, one third one out of four have suicidal thoughts like that is unreal. No, that's unconscionable. And so, working with them, where I you know I check in with them all the time like, Okay, how are you doing what's, what's your biggest stressor right now how is this going you know and and just trying to provide a safe space for them to talk about it, or to try to process or things like that. And that's, that's very helpful for me, you know, I, and I know from being in their shoes, it can be very helpful for them but but it helps me a lot to being able to fill that need for them, talk about it helps me process my own depression and anxiety. A little bit, yeah. And so, kind of, that mentoring is really an important part of keeping me centered. As I, as I'm in my career.
[Ben] I think everybody craves connection with someone else. And I can imagine someone in their situation, perhaps, the last thing they want to do is admit, like, I need, I need a connection, right, like, I need a lifeline I need some help here, they don't want to be the first one to go out there and and have to put themselves on the line like that but they want that connection point for you to reach out to them and say hey let's, let's talk for a minute like how are you doing what stressors Do you have right now. It provides that that pathway of trust for for a trusting conversation. Yeah, where they can open up to you.
[Kyle] Yeah. And It's kind of the unsaid thing that you just you just have to suck it up, like, I don't care if…if it's hard to imagine hours without sleep. Yes, doesn't matter you figure it out. Yeah, and I had this, this one physician when I was a med student, and he yelled at me because he was delivering a baby, and they had paged me to come join him, and I was asleep. And so the page woke me up, but I was kind of groggy like it took me a second to get there. And by the time I got there the baby was already delivered. And so he after he finished up he stepped out of the room and he's like, Look, you forget about food, you forget about sex you forget about sleep you forget about everything. You are for the patient. That's your life. When I thought, well then, I don't know that I want to be a doctor. Yeah, this is what I signed up for, I don't know that I want this. And, you know, just kind of that mentality is so hard to break in the culture of medicine, and I feel like you know you're starting to see some cracks and we're starting to recognize. Hey, the way that we treat trainees is not okay. In terms of their schedule in terms of how supervising physicians often treat them. There's a lot of bullying. There's a lot of what we call pimping where they in front of the patient in front of nurses other doctors they just pound you with questions to see if you're on your game. And the idea is that okay well that's going to motivate me to study, but no that just totally breaks me down, and I haven't slept for for two days, and now you're berating me and I can't think straight. Anyway, and, you know, I don't know how to deal with this. We're starting to see some slow improvements in the culture of medicine. But, but it's really done a huge disservice to so many people. And then, when a physician has depression or anxiety, and they're not treating it, then they actually make more mistakes in their patient care, or they're more likely to provide lower quality care to that patient. And so this affects everybody because you may not know if your doctor has depression or anxiety or whatever you may not. It may not be apparent to you yeah but if they're not addressing their own personal needs, then they're not really able to address yours very well either.
[Ben] Yeah, yeah. Man, and I thought the first two or three years of my job was hard.
[Kyle] Sorry, of a doctor or a physician or anyone in medicine is is tough. It's intense, it is intense.
[Ben] I have such a deeper respect for like my college, my, my college and my high school buddies that I saw like made it through residency and they're now like practicing doctors. Yeah, you made it through residency. Yeah, that's a huge thing
[Kyle] Well and it's funny because so in family medicine the residency is three years. Okay, compared to like certain surgeons or something can be like six or seven years. Yeah, like, it can go on forever. I can't even imagine that, I guess that would just be way too much for me to deal with.
[ben] Yeah, you picked the right exactly the right path.
[Kyle] Yeah, exactly.
[Ben] So, as we wrap up the interview, talk to us a little bit more about the book, The release date. Yeah, all that kind of need to know information. So because I'm gonna get my hands on this.
[Kyle] Yes. Good. That's great. So, it comes out April 2 2020, okay, which is my parents wedding anniversary so it's it's their anniversary present yeah I don't think the date is just random. But, um…
[Ben] Well, that means it's blessed like it'll be exactly…
[Kyle] Yeah, that's right yeah so it better be good. And you can preorder it now. You can go to blackrosewriting.com Or, if you go to my Facebook page which is Kyle Bradford Jones MD, there actually use a coupon code there to get a 15% discount on pre order. So if you go there, you'll have all the information you need and the link and everything, but it's not only is it about a physician with mental illness but it's about. It's about just a person with mental illness that we all need so many of us struggle with and that we all know someone who struggles with absolutely and my relationship with my family, and with faith and with God, which, you know, there were times where faith was really strong was made stronger because of this and there were times where it was made weaker because of mental illness and yeah you know I go through all that it's I think it's an important book for everybody so that we understand a little bit more about what others are going through and maybe we see a little bit of ourselves in there. I also am on Twitter or Instagram at KB Jones 11, or you can go to my website kylebradfordjones.com, that also has information about the book but I also blog on there and write about different mental health and healthcare related issues so, yeah. So come check it out.
[Ben] Kyle it's been incredible having you on the show. Thanks for Thanks for coming. We've talked about baseball, you got, like, wanting me to watch baseball. We talked about movies. Backing the car into parking spots…
[Kyle] …and existential crises, so there you go.
[Ben] We covered the whole gamut. We covered everything. I so much appreciate the time that you took to come into the studio and, and I think more importantly the time that you took to write the book…
[Kyle] Thanks, thanks…hopefully it's, it's doing someone good but if it doesn't, it did me good. So, at the very least, yeah, it was worth it for that.
[Kyle] Cool. Thanks, Ben.
[Ben] Thank you. Thanks everybody for listening to this week's episode. Have a great week. And don't forget, tell all your friends.