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Happiness Is …

Happy FlowerYou know what really makes an emergency physician feel good?

You’re working a shift and the secretary says “someone is here to see you.” You cautiously go up to the front desk and peek around the corner. It’s not a sheriff trying to serve you with a lawsuit and it’s not an administrator with his or her arms folded across his or her chest. That’s a good feeling.

Then you come out from behind the desk, the person says “remember me?” and you don’t see a shotgun or a kukri. That’s a good feeling.

Then you have no idea who the person is, but you say “suuuuure” and the patient doesn’t call “bullshit” on you. That’s a good feeling.

Then the patient hands you a plate of home baked cookies and a card and says “I’m the one who the paramedics brought in with a cardiac arrest last month. You’re the one who saved my life.” That’s a really good feeling.

Then you look around and notice that it isn’t just the patient who came to give you cookies. There’s a whole group of people there. His whole family shakes your hand, hugs you, and adds their thanks. That’s an even better feeling.

Then you go back into the department to get the rest of the staff and everyone makes fun of you for having tears in your eyes. Hey – screw them. They aren’t ruining the moment.

Little moments like this make me look back and think how I’d never choose any other specialty than emergency medicine.


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  1. WC- Your “little moments” statement reminds me–Daughter one needed her wisdom teeth extracted X 4. The oral/max guy could not have been more kind or nice to my kid. She was having trouble with staying saturated coming out of sedation and he sat with us for an hour yesterday, until finally we agreed that she needed to be reversed. His demeanor and the conversation we had while my kid was stabilizing was amazing and put me back in the spirit for the holidays.
    Naturally, I being me- I questioned about the current ACA and was he feeling any ill affects…As we chatted, he said,”You know, I know so many leaving medicine, but I have never gone there. I LOVE what I do and if that means working for free a couple days a week, no problem. It may get worse, but I will still be doing what I love.” When he called later to check on his patient, I thanked him and told him that his kindness, caring and conversation renewed my Christmas Spirit.
    I STILL want to be a nurse because that is what I have always loved. Maybe there’s time. :)

  2. Thank you for your lovely post I will stop kicking my dog now!!! :)

  3. Oh for petes sake *face palm* dog=myself ?????? Thank you ipad!!!!!

  4. Great post! So many good ones are leaving medicine. It is such that we need to let our medical teams know how appreciated they are. A heart felt gesture like that can breathe new life into a tired medical team.

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