Go Ahead, Make My Day

Still on my Bucket List of Places To See.

Still on my Bucket List of Places To See. Photo Courtesy of Grand Canyon NPS (W. Tyson Joye)

I’ve been a little MIA because my day job has been my day-into-night job this week. Despite being tired and my house looking like it was ransacked, it’s been a really good week. Even beyond the mundane frustrations of a large metropolitan hospital, some weeks I joke that I am just “staving off death” rather than “saving lives.” Yesterday, I was reminded that I didn’t take an oath to fix illness, but rather to try and alleviate suffering.  I was delivering the good news to a patient who had been eager to go home for several days; I had spent much of the week reassuring his worried wife (who herself apologized, “sorry, I’m so neurotic!”) and attempting to explain his condition-low salt levels in the blood, which in his case was, counterintuitively, due to an excess of free water in his blood. He was a chemistry teacher in his pre-illness life and despite my crude drawings on the dry erase board, we were getting nowhere until I channeled high school chemistry class: “there’s not enough solute for the amount of solvent.” Eureka!

As I was leaving his room, my patient said: “You are awesome. That’s the word I used when I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time when I was eighteen. Awesome.”

Wow, I told him, gesturing my hands like a balancing scale: me, Grand Canyon. Gentleman, pay attention: if that’s not a compliment, I don’t know what is. I told him that I will put that in my special mental shoebox that I dip into when work is frustrating, when patients or their families yell at me, when I haven’t peed or eaten because I am trying to work faster, for when I forget to be grateful that I get to do the work I do, even when anyone who works in a medical setting will tell you it is so incredibly not glamorous despite its media portrayal (no McDreamies or McSteamies here…though a cute murse did put his phone number in my coat pocket while we were squeezed in a supply closet once…but I digress).

It was one of the most original thank yous I have ever received, at work or otherwise. And it made my day. So if you have the chance today and feel a desire to thank anyone in your life for something, do it. It just might make their day. And yours. Happy Monday! :)

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4 thoughts on “Go Ahead, Make My Day

  1. Having been through the hospital system with a few loved ones now, rest assured that you and people in the hospital system, are some of the truly necessary people in this world. You think you should be grateful? The rest of us are definitely the ones who should be grateful.

    p.s. Can I request a post about why you were squeezed in a supply closet with a cute nurse?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And just for you, the story in a nutshell:
    Me: 3rd year resident, in my late twenties, working ~70 hours/week, sucker for flattery.
    Him: hunky blonde murse, older man (35!) Texan, super flirty and Desert Storm veteran.

    Let’s just say he was rewarded for his patriotism.


  3. Oops, I just read my last comment and just to clarify: NOTHING happened in the supply closet. This was not Grey’s Anatomy!!! I was getting supplies, probably for some procedure or other, and he made his move by giving me his phone number. We actually went on a date after I finished the rotation. Oriental lady likes to keep it classy.

    Mom and Dad, if you are reading this: nothing happened. We went to a movie. ;)


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