Friday, January 9, 2009

Another Holiday

As the snow gently drops onto my windshield it is quickly whisked away by the wipers. It's another holiday. 5:30 AM. And I'm in the car on the way to the hospital. I've worked them all. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries. I've missed countless family events. I generally leave the house before the children awake. Occasionally I return after they are sleeping. And when I'm not working...I'm constantly thinking. Mulling over a patient....a disease. Agonizingly trying to grasp the ephemeral. The missed diagnosis..the hidden clue. My wife rolls her eyes when she asks a question and I fail to respond. My head in a cloud I'm lost in the ether, desperately clinging to fleeting thoughts. So why do I do it. Why be a physician?

I am not a religious man. I have never read the bible. When times get tough I do not pray. But I have a sense of what must make it so gratifying. The husbands gentleness as he helps his wife onto the examining table. The ward secretary who sneaks into the hospital room to hold the patient's hand because there is no one to sit with him while he dies. The countless acts of beauty and kindness that occur behind closed doors when we are all at our worst. This....this is as close as I get to feeling God's presence.

This is the mistress that whispers in my ear early in the morning and forces me to get up. To leave my family on a holiday. To drive a half an hour in the snow to the hospital. To practice the craft that I have been taught. A craft which invites me into the most intimate moments of others lives. And gives me the unique possibility to help.

No matter how bad it gets there will always be doctors.....

There will always be doctors!


tracy said...

And, hopefully, one of those Doctors will be you! Welcome back, Dr. Jordan, you were missed.

Anonymous said...

I can appreciate the "drama" of you missing the holiday with your family, but by the tone of your article one could surmise you are one of the few who have made this great sacrifice. As an ICU nurse for a LONG time, I also missed countless events with my family to care for patients while receiving significantly less compensation and social regard than yourself.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I would beg to differ slightly with your comment "No matter how bad it gets there will always be doctors" and insert the word "nurses" instead. Nurses are the ones who often work behind the scenes with a lot less compensation and social regard than the physician, and yet without us hospitals couldn't function and patients would die.