I happen to have 3 female patients on my service right now who rock my world.
D is in her mid-thirties and has Down's Syndrome. Her intestine popped a hole in itself and she got a mad infection in her abdomen requiring surgery. She's doing quite well now, though it was touch-and-go for awhile there. She has slowly begun to trust me. Her mom is amazing; she's about mid-60s and is rarely away from D. The mom showed me some drawings D did recently (she is an avid artist). I told her I'd bring her in something of mine, so I sketched a little dog that looks like Muffy, her favorite stuffed animal who never leaves her side. D loved it and said she'll color it. She gave me a big smile and a high five.
Ms. O is close to 60 and has brain cancer. She has fought for 2 years and it recently recurred. Ms. O's younger sister is a saint. She has made the tough decision to not prolong Ms. O's suffering. Ms. O was having fevers to 105 with no identifiable source, so I attributed them to her brain cancer or recent seizures. A few days ago, I told Ms. O's sister that she is amazing for listening to her sister's wishes and making this hard decision. I told her that she shouldn't second guess herself, and that she needs to stay strong in this because that's what the patient wanted. She was tearful, but she thanked me. I hadn't seen the sister over the past few days (it was Thanksgiving), but I saw her today. She thanked me again for my kind words, and said she's at peace with everything now. Ms. O is even having periods of lucency where she tells her sister "thank you" and "I love you." The sister gave me a Starbucks gift card today and said, "Thank you again. Please, use this and think of us when you take a few minutes to yourself." I plan to take my own sister out for coffee with the card. I think Ms. O and her sister would like that.
K is also in her mid-30s, like D. K is a mystery because she seems to have a recurring illness. It's either reexposure to something leading to recurrent infection or a latent infection that comes up from time to time...or it's not infectious at all. It's a strange story, and one that I hope to figure out in the next few days. K and I hit it off, she's a great girl. She has a tattoo, and we got to talking about tattoos. She got hers with a few girlfriends - they all got the same one. She loves it and says she always will, "Because it meant so much to me when I got it." I told her that I was thinking of getting one, but I can't decide on something I'll want forever. She told me to just get one, because it will always be special to me. Today she was reading that book Push, which is what the movie Precious is based on. She said, "Just when you think you have it bad, you can just look at the person next to you." She has a great outlook on life, especially for someone who has been dealing with this recurrent mystery disease for 3 years. Then she said, "You know what? This world is filled with crazy."
She's right. This world is filled with Crazy. Once again, it takes a special patient to remind me to realize how blessed I am to not only survive amidst the Crazy but to flourish here. I love my job.