Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Flavors of the VA

There are many types of VA patients, but they can roughly be broken down into two groups:

1) The nice, normal ones
2) Everyone not in #1.

Now, incidents with the #2's may get written about more, but fortunately, the number of people in #1 vastly outnumber the numbers in #2. Number ones are the ones that make your day, that make you love your job, that teach you about life and living, and inspire you to be a better physician and a better person. Usually there's not as many stories about them, but here are a recent few:

The patient who had a minor surgery procedure done and sent a long, handwritten thank you card. It was beautifully written, and is now attached to the "important stuff" board.

The patient who, after talking about a nonmedical topic the prior visit, brought a packet of printed material to the next visit so I could learn more about the topic.

The patient who is complicated and we have no idea what his diagnosis is, and he knows that we don't know and are trying to figure out, who, at a impromptu meeting down one of the hospital corridors, recognized me in "civilian" clothes and came over to give a hug.

And then there are the many that, after a visit or after a procedure, give a heartfelt thank you.

These are the people that make long days and tedious paperwork pass by. It makes a world of difference.

* Did you know that this is how pineapples grow? Picture taken in Hawai'i. If you're ever there, try the Dole plantation pineapple softserve. Touristy, I know, but SO delicious!


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