Needless to say I am tired. I made it though. A full shift of working as a physician again. The first time in nearly 17 months I was able to do what I spent so many years training to do. I jumped through so many hoops, took so many tests, spent so many hours trying to figure out what was important about this profession. When I was diagnosed with leukemia I thought it was the last time I would be able to use any of that knowledge other than to worry myself sick about what was wrong with me. Yes, a few times along this time I have been given the opportunity to use some of those skills but it just isn’t the same as the feeling I get when the pager goes off and I know there is someone out there who wants or maybe even needs my opinion.
I will admit I felt a bit rusty. I was slow with the gathering the information I needed. My routine was a bit off for the interaction with the patients. Yet, I was there. Listening to their stories and trying to find a way to improve their night despite the fact it was not going well for them. I am not sure I accomplished that. It is funny that you would think my insider knowledge of being a patient might be really helpful (maybe it was) but it made me feel almost less adept or convincing at what I was laying out for my patients. I think some of it came from the feeling that so much of what we know in medicine is not perfect. As the saying goes “it wouldn’t be called practice if we were perfect.” None the less, it felt good to be there and try to encourage patients and families that not all was as bad as it may have seemed.
I was told a couple times that I was very helpful and even it that was not complete felt I will take it as a successful return to the profession. It was only one night and so I won’t read to much into it. I appreciated the patients not minding my extra protective distance, mask and gloves. These barriers were not as obstructive as I thought they might be. The rapidity with why I was such was so well rehearsed in my mind that it seemed the most fluid part of my interaction. What I liked best though was becoming part of someone else story. I would love to talk about what I was part of but that is not my story to tell. I look forward to more of this.
Head Up, Heart Strong. I need a cure.