Wednesday, December 5, 2012

This is what makes me tick

On a quiet, rainy weeknight shift, the doorbell rings at 1030pm.  Even after all this time in the ER, my heart still flutters a little each time - what will it be? Will the client be friendly? Will they be able to treat their pet? Will I be able to fix it?

An older gentleman approaches the receptionist.

"My dog had a c-section here about 4 months ago, and I was sort of wondering if the doctor who did the surgery is here, and... " he trails off.

I panic a little inside. Instantly, I focus on the worst things --  Was it me? Is something wrong? Is he angry? Did the puppies die? Is he here to demand a refund, or complain about care?

The receptionist types in his information and brings up the chart.  I review it  -- and it WAS me who did the c-section, but I retrieved 100% of the puppies alive, and they all went home doing well.  What does he want?

I nervously head up to the lobby - and and amazed by the truth.

"I just wanted to know if you wanted to see the puppies you saved" he said.  "I also wanted you to know how thankful I am, and I just wanted to come by - I don't mean to impose, but if you want to see them, they're in my car."

"OF COURSE I want to see them!" I exclaim (Fortunately, we're not that busy at the time). "Please, please bring them in!"

The gentleman brings in two beautiful, bouncy, playful, healthy, well cared for puppies.  They bounce around the lobby and are truly a joy to behold.

A simple act of thank you renews my passion for the profession.  Invigorates my empathy, inspires me to be a better doctor, and compels me to always give people the benefit of the doubt and not to anticipate the worst.  Thank you, kind client, for reminding me why I love my job.



  1. Nice job ERDoc! That's got to feel good.

  2. Every once in a while someone renews our faith in humanity.

  3. Thank you for a wonderful post. I shared it with a friend of mine who works in animal care at a sanctuary and it helped raise her spirits.

    There's a quote for these moments that I love. It's by Oscar Wilde (and used in the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory...) -- "So shines a good deed in a weary world."

    You shine, ERDoc! May the good outweigh the bad in the long run and let us keep working to make it so.

  4. Thanks Jeannie! I don't think this client realizes how many people he touched with his act of thanks. An important thing for us all to remember this holiday season - a heartfelt thank you can be a powerful thing.