Wednesday, October 24, 2012

polished black grand.

There are a few images in life you will never want to forget. I want to remember the one of this evening.

A young, well-built soldier, uniform and combat boots on, seated on the bench of a grand piano in the foyer of a hospital where lights were dimmed and the normal patient bustling was quieted to a dull hum. Playing the tune of a melancholy stanza, his rugged persona contrasted deeply with the lacquer finish of the polished black grand. Leaving the hospital at the end of a work day, my drive to patient-centeredness and patriotic respect for my country--- rose.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A lamp unto my feet.

Isaiah 54:10-15

"For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you. "O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.
In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you."

Monday, October 1, 2012

On board.

Learned a particularly difficult diagnosis today. Had heard of it before, but my reading of it had never been so vivid as now, after seeing a patient with it.

Barely in her early fifties, we uncovered her diagnosis of a terminal dementing illness. Capable of making her mute or unable to understand written/spoken language within just 10 short years, her difficult diagnosis couldn't be processed easily by even the strongest of any of us.

With her clearest words she had ever spoken since the moment I met her (just a few half hours before), she whispered softly to her husband across the room when she comprehended the news. "We'll make it through this" she mouthed confidently. Not a shutter in her voice or mispoken syllable. As if she saved her very strongest cognition for comforting someone else- the one she loved most.

I was humbled by her next gesture. As she grabbed my arm, like a dear child who wants to know his parent is thanked, she stated out loud, "as long as we have people like her on board. We know I'll be okay." As if speaking to the future's generation of doctors, she was laying the responsibility of good medicine and an undeserved merit on my shoulders.