Last week, I returned to Clinic at the Zoo. [If you've forgotten, I've termed the county hospital the "Zoo" - a) because it rhymes with the real name and b) because it really is a free for all up there.] It was, as usual, extremely busy. I never feel like I can give great care in that environment. There are way too many patients smashed into a 4-hour morning. Even when the 4-hour morning turns into a 5-hour morning (as it does 99% of the time), it's still not enough time. I don't get to look through labs as closely, I don't get to ask enough questions and I don't get to really know the patients.
Last week, I had an older man who had moved here from India about 10ish years ago. He was quite funny and nice. He had a nonhealing foot ulcer, but it was gradually getting better. He was refusing amputation, which would've cured the infection and probably (eventually) given him greater mobility. But, he was rather attached the foot, so I didn't push it.
He started giving me little words of advice, like a talking fortune cookie. I spent quite a bit of time with him (relatively speaking), partly because I liked his sound-bites of wisdom and partly because he seemed like he enjoyed an audience. He said, "If you're driving a train, you cannot stop and remove all of the little pebbles on the track. You will never get where you're going. Those pebbles are like life's problems - you just have to keep going and push them out of the way." He said a few other snappy things which were very inspirational. I wish I could remember them all. I told him that his family and friends are very lucky to have him around.
He looked a little sad, and he said, "You know how a lamp gives off light - lots of light! - everywhere except underneath the lamp. That is like me with my family. They do not see my light, they only see me as a old man." I wished I could've spent more time with him. I told him I'd see him in 6 weeks, and I thanked him for being a light to our clinic.