Friday, May 6, 2011
**If you are Tiny, you Dance your terrible, no good, very bad days away**
Yesterday was a terrible, no good, very bad kind of work day. It was the kind of day where I got so frustrated at, you know, the system (just to clarify, not my patients), that a sense of defeat crept in. And sometimes when I feel defeated, it's easy to think in a fit of frustration, "I'm done! Done, I tell you!" Because I know the universe doesn't mind my moment of melodrama. :)
And then I offered up a harried prayer. "Remind me why I am doing this."
I arrived back at work today a little worse for the wear. Then due to a scheduling snafu, the morning got a little crazy. So when lunch came around, I slumped down into my desk, and sighed. My work was feeling a lot like a job and less so like a calling.
I tried to figure out how to best use the few minutes of lunch time that I had, and decided that I would call the mother of a patient I'd seen two days ago rather than wait until the end of the day.
The patient is a teenager who I saw for sore throat two days ago. After we'd discussed the intial complaint, the mom said, "I promise I never ask about more than one problem at the doctor, but would you mind taking a look at his arm?" They'd been to a specialist that morning who had brushed some swelling off as a sunburn or mild sports injury. But when I looked at it, I thought it looked like neither of those things. I ordered an ultrasound that revealed a serious clot, which led to a CT scan, which led to the discovery of more serious, potentially life threatning clots and a referral to a different specialist.
So, as you might imagine, this has been an emotional week for them.
And as Mom and I talked today, she got pretty tearful. I can imagine that being so directly confronted with your child's mortality would do that to you.
And in the course of the conversation, she said to me, "I want you to know how grateful I am that you ordered that test." And I'm thinking, 'But it's what anyone would have done!' Then she started crying harder, "And I want you to know that I know that God sent you to us that day so that we could find this."
Quite suddenly, my work felt like a calling again. Whether or not she was right (and because of my faith and past experience, I believe that God pays attention to such things), my efforts meant to something someone.
Theirs wasn't the only prayer answered this week.
Most days, I actively enjoy the busy rhythm--work and play--of my days. But sometimes the grind, the frustrations, the fatigue of life will get me down. I yell at the sky, "I. AM. DONE!"
But, I've learned that when I ask to be reminded why I'm doing what I'm doing, reminded I will be.
So often, at the point when I feel most discouraged, there comes a rejuvenating moment. One well-placed comment, one toddler who finally shares with a friend, one jubilant 'you're the best mommy in the world'. And that one moment casts all the other moments in a completely different light.
So today I am grateful for the mix of bitter and sweet. For the frustration that paints in bold relief the beauty of discovering why I do what I do in all aspects of my life. And for the gentle reminders and answers to prayer along the way.