I received some great news yesterday. I was speaking with one of my patients discussing their current condition six months following her operation. Happily, she is doing quite well and has no more headaches except with severe barometric changes. She rarely requires any opiates except in those unusual situations which thankfully occur very infrequently. This patient does have a little are of sensitivity, but with a postage-stamp sized Lidoderm patch worn overnight, she sleeps well and is extremely happy; which makes me extremely happy. But this result is not the best part. As we spoke, I asked her about her plans to adopt a child, something we had discussed on many occasions in the past as it has been a goal of hers for quite some time. She relayed that her status was “going to committee” later that day, when a group of people would decide whether this child would be adopted by her or one of two other families. A few hours later, she received great news - she was going to be a mom. I had a big fat grin on my face for several hours thereafter knowing how happy she was and what a great mom she was going to be. As a father of three, I can totally relate. During clinic in the afternoon, another patient came back several months following her operation. She and her husband had recently returned from a trip to Iceland which they told me they enjoyed more than any vacation in recent memory, in large part because she did not have any more headaches, something that had plagued her on many prior trips. When I first walked into the room, the smile on her face said it all. Still later that day, I also heard back from the mother of a third patient who is now 18 months following her operation. This woman told me that her daughter is now also a new mother! Moreover, she felt that her daughter would not have been doing the things she was doing at the present time were she to be in the same state she was prior to her operations, which her mother credits with helping her daughter achieve these milestones.
This is the good stuff. As physicians, we are often trained to be very clinical which is important and rewarding. After all, it feels good to something well. It can also be daunting hearing about how many people suffer, often for long periods of time without much relief. However, it is the human aspect of what we do that is truly gratifying and these challenges are also great opportunities. To see and feel that we can touch people’s lives in such meaningful ways, is difficult to put into words (despite this blog’s attempt at doing just that). Yesterday was a good day.