Tuesday, October 16, 2012

All in a Day's Work

Today could have been ruined by a failed Synvisc injection beneath , putting my scrubs in the hamper with my watch in the pocket (don't worry, I was that med student digging through the laundry), or by my lack of attention and poor sterile technique. I could hear Dr. Steiner, my microbiology prof from Hillsdale, giving it to me from a distance, and Dr. Moody audibly telling me it was a good thing I had a scrub clinic to go to that afternoon.

But it was made up by the 40 minutes I spent with the patient (the failed Synvisc patient) telling me about the Latino dancing that happens every Friday night in Bay City--I can't wait to try it--and discussing how the simple phrase "get busy living, or get busy dying" applies in almost every situation. He was just kind of awesome.

Today could have been ruined by a 12+ hour day, with no lunch or dinner break. I did manage some small snacks...

But it was made up by the simple act of bringing a woman I saw in the nursing home a cup of coffee. And then watching her talk motivationally to her arm that had become immobile due to stroke. And then by being asked to join her in eating cookies and drinking coffee. Needless to say, I practically inhaled the cookie.

Today could have been ruined by seeing a 51 year old woman I had the privilege of seeing with dermatomyositis. This devastating disease has caused Raynaud's in her fingers, a severe rash, muscle pain and weakness, pulmonary fibrosis--her lungs sounded like the separation of velcro and her fingers were showing characteristic clubbing due to low oxygen--Sjogren's syndrome with subsequent severe dry mouth and eyes, scleroderma that was making if difficult to open her mouth and her skin dry and taught...oh yeah, and she has trouble swallowing.

But it was made up by her good sense of humor. Her amazingly calm spirit. Her willingness to let me examine all of her unique qualities. Her telling the doctor to stop being so serious about her and encouraging him to laugh despite everything going on. She doesn't have a good prognosis, in fact it's terrible. But, she doesn't let on to it. My goal? Be her.

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