Thursday, July 12, 2012
Sofia Was A Win
I basked in the glow of Sofia's success. As physicians, we face death and destruction on a daily basis. It feels quite gratifying when outcomes are better than expected. Over the years, and many visits, we formed a bond based on trust and familiarity. We struggled with some issues, and sailed through others.
It would have never occurred to me to describe Sofia as anything other than a highly satisfied patient. So when I decided to change practices and physically move twenty five minutes north, I had no doubt that she would follow me. After all, I had one hundred year olds willing to hobble along on their walkers to make the extra trip.
I remember the last time I saw Sofia in the office. She took my new business card and told me that she would call in a few months. She never did. Eventually, realizing her absence, I left a message on her voice mail. Several calls later, her husband picked up and explained that the twenty five minute drive was too far. She would rather see one of my old partners at my previous location. I was stunned.
There are dark times in medicine. Times when I sit in my office long after all the patients and staff have left. Alone at my desk in the solitude, I occasionally torture myself with the existential calculus of a life lived in service. I tabulate the wins and losses in neat but strikingly asymmetric columns. Everybody dies eventually.
Years later Sofia's face often comes to mind.
With a pang of sadness it always ceases to be professional,
and becomes overwhelmingly personal.
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 5:50 AM