Friday, November 10, 2006

Why I do this

Tuesday night was crazy on call - more busy than usual. Then, on Wednesday, I had a 7am hospital meeting, morning office hours, a noon hospital meeting, then afternoon office hours, then back to the hospital to finish my hospital rounds. Sheesh!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. It's just the fatigue was more than usual - kind of interesting now that I re-read my post on jetlag. Hmmmmmm...

Wednesday afternoon, I was just totally dragging and could not wait to go home and go to bed. I was not really in that great of a mood - kind of cranky. And, I did not have any tolerance for whining and excuses from my patients or my staff.

I walked into the exam room and saw Russell and his wife. I haven't seen Russell for about two months. Russell usually sees another doc in our practice. In fact, the last time we saw each other we had a spirited disagreement on why I thought tobacco use is unhealthy. So, my first thought was that I really did not want to go through that discussion again - especially today.

In addition to smoking, during our last visit, he reported symptoms of mild chest pain which he attributed to his "chronic bronchitis." After another heated discussion, he was agreeable to a stress test which occured the next week. I was quite surprised by the abnormal result. Russell was immediately referred to our local cardiologist and I kind of lost track of what happened after that.

His wife told me that Russell was seen by the local heart doctor and immediately referred to Huge Legendary University Medical Center where he underwent triple bypass heart surgery about a month ago. He just returned home following some cardiac rehabilitation at Huge Medical Center.

We talked some more. And before the visit ended, Russell's wife said, "You know, they said up there that Russell's heart was right on the edge of something bad happening. I know he can be difficult sometimes, but I'm glad you ordered that stress test. Doc, you probably saved his life and I wanted to thank you."

Russell looked right at me, didn't say anything, but noded his head. At that moment, all of my fatigue disappeared.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know that feeling as well... it is amazing how tired we can be one minute then in the next minute it can all go away because something (or someone) is more important.
You probably did save his life... good job dr. A. It is always nice to have those moments that reaffirm our career choice.

Sarebear said...

Wow . . . .

cathy said...

Oh, isn't that a wonderful story. Does it get any better, ever, than that?

Anonymous said...

Nice work, Doc!

The Curmudgeon said...

Makes it all worthwhile -- for a while. Nice story.

rdl said...

Nice post!!

jbwritergirl said...

Bravo!
JB

-Princess Shin- said...

Congrats! =) That must feel really satisfying! Doctors are indeed amazing! Keep up the good work!

ian said...

I can relate to that. When an idea or a jolt of inspiration knocks me on my ass, I get as wired as if I'd chugged a pot of coffee. I have to write, or else I become irritable and angry.

Ian

wolfbaby said...

wow... I can only imagine how good that must have felt for you.. to be thanked liked that and appreciated it.. way to go!!!

Fat Doctor said...

And that, my friend, is why we love being doctors. Despite all the BS, sometimes someone says thank you and you know they really mean it.

Anonymous said...

Good on ya!! :)

Midwife with a Knife said...

You don't get a lot of opportunities to really feel like you make a difference or to hear patients say, "thank you."

That's a great story. :)

Anonymous said...

Well done for saving his life. Was that a good thing?
By the way your poll question should read "Fewer than 25" not "Less than 25". If you can count it, it is fewer. It is always a good idea to communicate accurately with your patients.
Olepedant