Gratitude can be transformative.
Today wasn’t less busy than any other day this week. Like many ED's across the country, we are boarding many patients. The acuity of our ill patients is high at baseline, and combined with influenza season, many hospitals are at capacity and still trying to function. Stress levels are peaking, and staff is overworked and underpaid, at a time of the year when money tends to be stretched thin to start with. It's been a tumultuous week. But I had an experience this morning that set the tone for my day and in turn, set a gratitude chain in motion...
My career in medicine is something I am proud of. I was the first one in the family to enter the field of medicine, and I have navigated the maze of my medical education and training often blindly, without footsteps to follow. I have built a career in which I am both passionate and successful. From the outside, it is an incredible accomplishment. But it has not been without sacrifice – and those sacrifices have impacted everyone who loves me.
A while back, I had a really rough week at the hospital. It was a combination of many things: lack of sleep, working at a site away from home, and a string of very sick patients that culminated in one of the hardest patient deaths I’ve had to handle so far in my career. I happened to mention some of this in casual conversation with a family member and it stopped them dead in their tracks.
“How do you do it?” they asked.