Life for me each morning at work begins at 200mph. Between patients, note writing, unending phone calls, innumerable staff interruptions and reading of tests, my day goes by pretty fast. I do try to meditate and pause in moments but yesterday did not look like that was going to happen until….

My medical assistant came to my desk to inform me that a patient’s wife was on the phone. I stopped admist the whirlwind of my morning and picked up the phone.

“ Hi Doctor B. just wanted to let you know that R. Died yesterday “ she sobbed.

I was standing up, now I fell into my chair. “ I am so sorry, how did it happen?” I inquired

“ He was very busy doing house chores and being his active self and then he clutched his chest. We called the ambulance, and then he died on the way to the hospital” she cried

I was silent. I reviewed his entire chart in my mind and knew that he had been doing fine and all checkups and all lab work and tests were all within normal limits. he was supposed to see me in a week for routine yearly check. “ I am going to miss R. I remember him fondly” I replied

“ I am calling to just let you know because he often talked about you, as the one doctor who listened to him and cared. He really liked you a lot because of how you made him feel as a person. And I wanted to thank you for taking care of him over the last 10 years. “ She informed me as she gathered up her tears.

“ Please let me know if I can help in any other way, I wish you and the family much healing and love “ We bid each other good bye and I put the phone down.

I sat for the next few minutes lost in thought and remembered my encounters with R. His personal stories, his medical history, his smile, his greetings. All of it.

I have lost many a patient over the last 20 years. They say that if you do this job long enough, you lose enough patients that you harden the heart so you dont feel the pain. At least that is what I was always told since ethics class in medical school. I dont buy it. I have felt the loss of each patient I have ever known deeply.

I searched my feelings for the truth. I know that everyone dies. It is not that I do not know this at a cellular level, it is more that I feel the loss of the person in a way that I can no longer be there to help them. After taking care of someone for any length of extended time , it feels like a robbed opportunity to no longer serve them further.

I feel that we can never forget the people that we have interaction with. The longer the interaction the greater the memory of them. I do not miss anyone who has passed for I know with deep skeletal certainty that no one is really gone just transformed into different forms. What I do miss is the gift of being a part of their healing journey, but perhaps my part was done, and they continue their adventures with other souls.

Life is funny that way. It is precious and yet it is fleeting like a feather. I am reminded to take the pause in each moment and spend time for self care and loving people around me. For I do not know when they may leave and go out of my orbit nor when I may leave theirs.


I love you

Author: Brown Knight

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