Sometimes the best intervention is not a medication but rather a listening ear, not a vaccination but rather a shoulder to cry on, not a screening test but instead an advocate.
It was a Wednesday morning. The air was crisp. The sun graced us with brilliance. I made my way to the emergency room where I was working for a two-week period on the cardiology consult service.
In 2006, Daisy Goodman first experienced a patient disclosing a narcotics addiction. A certified nurse midwife working in obstetrics, Goodman had had years of experience working with pregnant mothers to cultivate a healthy pregnancy and birth.
I found them for you. / Your blonde little girls who grew into women / Then grew apart from you. / I found them.
As another ACA repeal looms in the near future — after ACHA and BCRA — the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (Graham-Cassidy) legislation makes me think back to a patient I took care of a few months ago.
I don’t really know why I stayed with you. All I know is that I could not leave.
The day before I was asked to give this speech, sometime mid-May, I was speaking with a first year student. At the time, I was two weeks shy of completing my third year of medical school — the year of school that you spend the most time in the hospital.
At 7:21 p.m., I arrive at the hospital for the first overnight shift of my medical career. It’s not a great start — the bus was late, and I didn’t sleep nearly enough this afternoon in preparation for the night ahead.
Yellow does not mean sunshine, nor lemons. / Definitely not daffodils, nor sharp, new Number 2’s. / Yellow means sick. Dirty. Dangerous.
The first thing she noticed, / Was her heart fluttering off and on, / The doctor saw her pale, / And iron pills were called upon.
Tears hold onto the ledges of her eyes. As the physician and I approach, a quivering begins. It emerges at the jaw, a flutter running across her lips, only to drop onto her shoulders and envelop her hands.
During the team huddle I was assigned to Room 403, Bed 1. “There is a lot you can learn from this patient. You should see him.” I got the one liner and was off.